How is silver used today in medical applications?

As previously mentioned, silver is used in surgical implants and in the studs of earrings placed in newly pierced ears to prevent infection. Silver is used to "sanitize hundreds of thousands of swimming pools worldwide" (reducing the amount of chlorine required for the suppression of bacteria.) "More than 125 leading hospitals in the US have installed silver/copper ionization systems, which have been successful in eradicating L. pneumophila from their hot water systems. Silver/copper ion sanitation systems which carry the approval of the Environmental Protection Agency and/or the Food and Drug Administration, and certified for performance by the National Sanitation Institute International, Ann Arbor, Michigan, are available in the marketplace."

"Silver has also had a significant impact on the treatment of burns. Twenty years ago it was common for the wounds of severly burned patients who become infected, which delayed healing and sometimes led to death. Today silver sulfadiazine is used by hospitals worldwide to kill bacteria allowing the body time to restore the area naturally. Sulfadiazine is a known antibacterial agent. Combined with silver, studies show it is at least 50 times more active than other antibacterial agents. 'Silvadene' now is the most widely used topical treatment for burn therapy. Other silver compounds also are being developed for use wherever silver sulfadiazine proves ineffective."

"Silver also has been successfully used to grow new skin on accident victims, including restoration of fingertips with the original fingerprint" "In a treatment developed by Mountain Medical Specialties of Lakemont, GA, a silver-coated fabric is used to cover the wound. A miniature battery is connected to the fabric to begin a flow of silver ions to encourage normal skin growth and eliminate bacteria which generally prevents complete regeneration of the skin and nerve function." Silver treated sutures are also being developed for surgical applications.

"Silver-based water purification units for the home have been in use in Europe for more than 50 years. Today Brita Products Company markets a silver-impregnated activated carbon filter containing ionexchange resins. This filter meets the National Sanitation Foundation Standards covering bacteriostatic efficacy, the reduction of lead, copper, and particulates and the reduction of taste and odor. It also has the approval of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as a bactericidal unit." Silver water purification systems are also reportedly used by NASA aboard the space shuttle and by major airlines on commercial flights.

"Tests by researchers at the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences show that silver and copper ions added to oyster tanks destroy harmful bacteria in the water without affecting the oysters. Once oysters are harvested from the ocean, they are cleaned in 'depuration' tanks which are prone to bacteria infiltration. Silver ions added to the water destroy bacteria and copper ions kill fungus, making an inexpensive and environmentally friendly combination for keeping oyster tanks clean. 'Silver and copper ionization is the perfect solution,' says Richard Ganim, president of Superior Aqua Enterprises in Sarasota, Florida."

"'The applications for ionization are almost endless,' Ganim said. Currently ionization is used by chicken farmers to reduce bacteria and fungus without affecting the health of the chickens. 'We think this system will also work for citrus growers' who routinely spray their trees with chemicals."

The quotes above are all from the article, "Silver's Increasing Importance To Health", The Silver Institute, February 28, 1997 In another article, the Silver Institute looks at the increasing applications forcasted for the future. This article, "Silver's Use as a Biocide Expected to Escalate Through 2006" January 16, 2001, contains the following information:

"Demand for silver in biocide applications is forecast to double over the next six years." And this report also states "that global use of silver as a biocide or bacteristat in polymeric formulations is projected to rise by 600% . . . by 2006." Polymeric applications involve adding silver to liquid plastics in the molding process to increase the resistance to germs.

This article also states that Japan is leading the development of silver-based biocides, including incorporating these in textiles such as automobile interiors. "Other consumer products for which silver is being evaluated as a biocide are dishtowels, scrubbing pads, and fabric products, such as pillowcases that collect dust mites. Silver biocides are also being researched, and in some cases being marketed, for the control of odor generating organisms in shoes and clothing."

From Colloidal Silver: Medical Uses, Toxicology, & Manufacturing, Chapter 1, "Brief History of Silver and Silver Colloids in Medicine": "Recently, with the development of antibiotic resistance in many diseases and the increase in the new strains of bacteria and viruses worldwide, there is renewed interest in silver. Large companies are developing and introducing new compounds for a variety of anti-microbial applications, including protection against the spread of the AIDS virus."

"Another application for silver in medicine has been approved by the FDA. A.B. Flick, M.D., founder of Argentum Research, Inc., has developed a line of bandages and wound dressings in which the fibers are plated with silver. These dressings are germicidal, analgesic, and facilitate healing. The effects of the silver from these bandages is local only and not systemic. Dr. Flick has gone through the necessary steps to secure approval by the FDA for these products."

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AS does not make any recommendation as to the use or effectiveness for any purpose of colloidal silver. AS Colloidal Silver generators are solely for use as a "dietary supplement". This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
It must be first re-emphasized that colloidal silver generators available from AS are intended for use solely as dietary or nutritional supplements. The promotion of colloidal silver as a treatment for a specific medical condition is not possible because the extensive (and astronomically expensive) FDA approval processes for a new drug application have not been completed.

That being said, there are many references to supplemental doses that have been published. One such reference is found in an article entitled, "Using Colloidal Silver - Usage Philosophies". This article reiterates: "It should be noted that while colloidal silver use is quite widespread, there are no standardized formulas due to the fact that no conclusive research has been conducted that demonstrates an ideal (or effective) dose for any condition."

This article continues with several possible supplemental usage possibilities. The first is the "Mineral Supplement Ideology". "Many people believe that mineral depletion in the world's farming soils has seriously reduced the amount of natural minerals in the average diet necessary to maintain a state of good health. Those who use colloidal silver as a mineral supplement generally take about one tablespoon of colloidal silver daily (about 75 micrograms of silver.) Taking colloidal silver in these small amounts on a daily basis is generally felt to be an illness preventative with no associated risks." Note: One tablespoon equals 15ml, so 75mcg of silver intake would result if the solution was at a concentration of 5 ppm. A similar dose would result from the consumption of 1/2 a tablespoon of a 10 ppm solution. From the prior EPA guidelines we see that a balanced diet would normally yield 90mcg of silver, assuming the fresh foods were grown on non-depleted soils. A diet deficient in fresh fruits and vegetables would theoretically also be deficient in both silver and most other trace minerals.

The next dosage ideology discussed in this article is "Therapeutic Doses (internal). Many people use colloidal silver on a need only basis. Generally, one ounce is a common therapetic dose taken at the onset of symptoms, taken daily until symptoms subside. Another preferred method is to consume multiple doses spread throughout the day. Those who practice multiple doses usually take one ounce twice to four times daily, feeling that this produces a sustained and cumulative effect throughout the usage period. Once symptoms subside, users generally stop taking colloidal silver." Note: Once again the reference is to ounces of a 5 ppm solution. One ounce (30ml) at 5 ppm is equal to 1/2 ounce (15ml) at 10 ppm. In this example, one ounce at 5 ppm would equal 150mcg of silver, and four ounces would equal 600mcg, or 0.6mg. Even at the higher dosage, this consumption is still well below the EPA Critical Dose (the maximum daily approved consumption) of 1.09mg per day.

Similar supplement levels are found in an article "Colloidal Silver - The Rediscovery of a Super Antibiotic?" found at "One teaspoon of 5 ppm colloidal silver equals about 25 micrograms (mcg) of silver. 1-4 teaspoons per day (25 - 100mcg) is generally considered to be a 'nutritional amount' and is reported to be safe to use for extended periods of time. Amounts higher than this are generally considered 'therapeutic amounts' and should only be used periodically."

"In cases of illness, natural health practitioners have often recommended taking double or triple the 'nutritional amount' for 30 to 45 days, then dropping down to a smaller maintenance dose. Amounts from 1 - 32 ounces per day have reportedly been used in acute conditions."

This article continues with an important warning about the detoxifying effects of consuming a colloidal silver supplement: "If your body is extremely ill or toxic, do not be in a hurry to clear up everything at once. If pathogens are killed off too quickly, the body's five eliminatory channels (liver, kidneys, skin, lungs, and bowel) may be temporarily overloaded, causing flu-like conditions, headache, extreme fatigue, dizziness, nausea or aching muscles. Ease off on the colloidal silver to a smaller amount and increase your distilled water intake. Regular bowel movements are a must in order to relieve the discomforts of detoxification."