Getting the facts straight on colloidal silver use against flu

Blue in the Face

Should you use colloidal sliver to prevent or treat the flu – especially the H1N1 virus?

The simple answer is no…because like antibiotics, colloidal silver fights bacterial infections, not viral infections.

But there’s a little more to it than that.

And while this much-maligned alternative therapy gets a lot of bad press, you might keep some on hand. HSI Panelist Allan Spreen, M.D., explains why.

Blue man

All it takes is one blue guy to show his face on national television, and a useful alternative therapy gets forever branded as a bizarre fringe treatment.

A couple of years ago, Paul Karason appeared on the Today show to discuss his argyria – a condition in which the skin turns blue due to regular use of colloidal silver. Mr. Karason originally used the treatment to address skin inflammation on his face.

Unfortunately, he continued to use CS for several years without the supervision of a doctor. If he had received proper advice and used it sparingly, his skin probably wouldn’t be blue today.

Mr. Karason’s CS experience was recently featured in a health blog on the LA Times website. The blogger, Tami Dennis, offered Karason’s condition as a caution against using colloidal silver. What she didn’t mention is that Karason is not an anti-CS crusader. Just the opposite – he still uses CS on occasion. But that bit of information would have interfered with Ms. Dennis’ dismissal of CS as a treatment to be avoided.

She also didn’t mention that after Karason appeared on the Today show, NBC medical editor Nancy Snyderman urged him to get a complete check up to see if the heavy metal had done damage to his organs. He got the check up and he was fine.

On her blog, Ms. Dennis would have us believe that CS use is pointless at best, and dangerous at worst. And just to make sure we’re aware of her contempt for this treatment, she offers a list of colloidal silver “I told you so’s.” Among them: an FDA/FTC crackdown on H1N1 “scam” treatments.

I agree that wariness of over-the-top claims is a reasonable caution…about anything you’re considering taking. And it’s true that many CS sellers make unapproved claims about curing cancer, tuberculosis and other diseases. But let’s move past the suspicious sales language and Ms. Dennis’ breezy dismissal. Let’s get real.

The pre-pharmaceutical antibiotic

Dr. Spreen calls colloidal silver “by far the most controversial agent in the armamentarium of ‘natural’ antibacterial agents.” But CS is really nothing more than submicroscopic silver particles finely dispersed in water.

Research conducted by Jonathan V. Wright, M.D., has found that bacteria have an enzyme system that is disrupted by the presence of silver ions, causing the organism to die. Before the advent of pharmaceutical antibiotics in the 1940’s, colloidal silver was a commonly used antibacterial agent.

In a previous e-Alert, when I asked Dr. Spreen about using CS as a defense against the flu, he noted that viral infections compromise the immune system, creating an opportunity for “superinfection” by bacteria. He said, “Other than cost, I can’t think of a reason not to consider using colloidal silver.”

Some people use CS on a daily basis as a preventive measure, but Dr. Wright suggests that its use be limited to “combating episodes of acute infection and that it not be used continuously.” As for dosage, Dr. Wright recommends “1 tablespoon of colloidal silver at a 40 ppm (parts per million) concentration at the first signs of any infection and 1-2 teaspoons three to four times daily until the infection is gone. Then stop!”

Each individual is different, so Dr. Wright’s advice is a general guideline. Colloidal silver should be administered under the guidance of a physician who’s familiar with its use.

“As for Colloidal Silver, You Can’t Say You Weren’t Warned” Tami Dennis, LA Times, 9/10/09,
“‘Blue Man’ is Still a Man of a Different Color” MSNBC, 9/10/09,
“Conversion Factor” Dr. Jonathan V. Wright, Health eTips, 10/2/03,