“Specious metal” (Colloidal silver)


There is plenty about water to be thankful for, what with it sustaining life, playing a central role in a warm shower, and being an indispensable ingredient in lemonade. And while less vital than water, it’s also easy to appreciate the value of batteries. Quaffing that lemonade is all the sweeter when a 9-volt powered video game is in hand. But it turns out that my appreciation for these two items may have still been inadequate. For they can be used to produce colloidal silver, which alternative medicine enthusiasts tout as a cure-all.

Colloidal silver refers to submicroscopic particles that are suspended in a liquid, usually water. The alt-med community trumpets its ability to remedy any malady from Whooping Cough to warts. They also consider it to possess antibiotic, antifungal, and antiviral properties, as well as having the ability to boost immunity.

However, its use in legitimate medicine was largely abandoned in the 1930s when it was ushered aside for antibiotics. It may still have some small measure of benefit as a topical application, but even then it is far less potent than the likes of Neosporin

Colloidal silver has been shown to have antibacterial properties in vitro. However, laboratory promise doesn’t always translate into a cure or mitigation, and colloidal silver has no verified internal uses for any living being.

But it started to become embraced by fringe elements as part of the Y2K craze. With preppers and other panicky people worried about societal collapse, a supposed panacea that could be made from water and batteries suddenly had a market. Around the same time, rumors about antibiotic-resistant bacteria started getting around, and colloidal silver was touted as a forgotten miracle of nature that could combat this.

The most glaring side effect for obsessive users is resembling members of the Blue Man Group, minus the quirky talent. This is the result of argyria, a permanent skin discoloration caused by the concentration of silver salts. Other side effects can include fetal abnormalities and reduced effectiveness of antibiotics.

Colloidal silver advocates satisfy the alt-med quota of appealing to antiquity at least once by claiming that Greeks used silver containers to keep water fresh. What relevance this has to colloidal silver being able to cure gout or remove kidney stones is unexplained.

Dr. Mark Crislip noted that colloidal silver as defined by its users is something of a misnomer, and that its actual nature helps explain why it is of little medicinal value.

“The problem is that the silver is not dissolved but is a suspension that rapidly settles out of solution,” he said. “Colloids occur when one substance is evenly distributed in another without being dissolved, like albumin in blood, or fat in milk.”

So what is marketed as colloidal silver is mostly inefficient and is certainly incapable of painlessly curing 650 diseases, as one hyperbolic Science Digest article proclaimed. Despite this publication’s name, it features scant science and many claims that are hard to digest.

Similar sources praise colloidal silver for its widespread wonders, but proponents are unable to substantiate these boasts with animal models, case reports, clinical trials, double blind studies, or anything other than testimonials.

For this dearth of evidence, the Natural Society blames “the medical mafia and Big Pharma, who see this miracle product as a financial threat.”

The FDA and the European Union have enjoined several peddlers from ascribing internal curative properties to colloidal silver, and the Natural Society trumpets this as further proof of repression. Yet colloidal silver has not been banned and the Society is free to publish the recipe and encourage everyone to use it. If it were the panacea they claim, all disease and sickness would quickly be conquered. Besides, if the medical and pharmaceutical communities had the means and desire to ban cures, they never would have allowed the release of vaccines that target smallpox, diphtheria, and polio.

Furthermore, the same people who accuse the European Union of a cover-up will point to EU members banning GMO cultivation as proof that such organisms are poison.

But the Society seems downright rational compared to Natural News. Because some vaccines contain formaldehyde, this website claims that pro-vaxxers advocate injecting one’s self with embalming fluid. It has also railed against vaccines for containing mercury and aluminum, always failing to mention that these are in extremely minute traces, far less than what is in the “superfoods” that Natural News endorses.

And despite its all-caps, multiple-exclamation point objections to allowing metals to enter the body, Natural News strongly embraces letting in colloidal silver products that it sells. 

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