Is colloidal silver helpful or hurtful? A look at benefits and warnings

(Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

If you had the flu this season, or you're prone to getting chronic colds, you may be looking for alternative ways to stay healthy.

For some, that means trying colloidal silver. It's known to boost the immune system and kill common viruses and bacteria.

Colloidal silver is a liquid solution with tiny particles of silver in it. Dr. Ed Lamadrid, a doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, says it can wipe out just about anything that can make us sick.

"It's used primarily as an antimicrobial so it tends to kill basically everything; bacteria, viruses, and fungus," he said.

If it sounds too good to be true, it may be. In fact, the FDA has come out against its use, saying there is no benefit to taking oral silver. They go a step further to say it's downright dangerous, causing irreversible damage in some cases.

"A toxic dose, or taking silver for a long time can cause a condition called argyria which can cause this skin to turn blue and that's an irreversible condition," Lamadrid added.

"The problem is there aren't enough studies done to figure out what silver does to the healthy cells. It's great that it can kill bacteria and virus but what does it do to our liver cells. our stomach cells?"

Lamadrid says he doesn't recommend it because of those risks and he says there are other alternative therapies that are more effective. The only time he says we should even consider using it is topically, to treat skin conditions or wounds, and even that should be done sparingly. Otherwise, he says it's just too risky.

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