Silver Biotics is a brand of colloidal silver that is used in alternative medicine for the treatment of a variety of infections. The National Institutes of Health warns strongly against taking colloidal silvers due to dangerous side effects and toxicity, and lack of scientific evidence to support claims of medicinal benefits.
Silver Biotics is a particular brand of colloidal silver that was patented by American Biotech Labs in 2001. According to HerbalRemedies.com, it is the only colloidal silver product to hold this classification from the U.S. Patent Agency. The National Center for Complimentary and Alternative MedicineN or CCAM, a subsidiary of the National Institutes of Health, defines colloidal silver as a solution of silver nanoparticles suspended in water or some other safe liquid. It is used in alternative medicine to treat bacterial, viral and fungal infections, including but not limited to sore throat, ear infection, gastrointestinal disorders, food poisoning, HIV/AIDS, diabetes, tuberculosis, syphilis, scarlet fever, shingles, herpes, pneumonia, prostatitis and cancer.
Silver is an effective disinfectant for water that is contaminated with viruses such as hepatitis A and poliovirus, as reported in "Applied Environmental Microbiology" in 2010. In addition, the "Journal of Nanobiotechnology" reported in 2010 that silver may prevent HIV transmission and replication, and is being investigated for use as in protective topical creams. However, the NCCAM warns that there is no scientific evidence to support ingestion of colloidal silver to treat viral infection, and doing so may be hazardous to your health.
Silver has anti-fungal properties. Positively charged silver ions bind to DNA, preventing replication. This stops the fungus from growing. Again, these studies reflect laboratory experimentation, and the NCCAM warns that ingestion of colloidal silver has no proven benefits, and may have serious side effects. When silver accumulates in the body, it can turn skin, organs and other tissues bluish gray. Known as argyria, this condition is untreatable and irreversible. Kidney damage, headaches,liver toxicity and seizures are among other side effects, and drug interactions may affect absorption of tetracyclines, penacillins, thyroxine and quinolones. These dangers exist whether colloidal silver is taken for fungal, viral, or bacterial infection or any other medical treatment. HerbalRemedies.com states that unlike other colloidal silver products, Silver Biotics is non-toxic at 100 to 200 times the normal adult human dose.
Silver has been used in topical dressings to prevent bacterial infection since before the advent of antibiotics. More recently, silver coatings are used to prevent infection on medical devices such as catheters during surgery, as published in the journal Infection in 1999. Silver ions cripple bacteria by interfering with energy generation, starving them of nutrients. It also pokes holes in the bacterial cell wall, causing rupture and death. (Reference 2)
HerbalRemedies.com indicates that the advantage of Silver Biotics over traditional antibiotic treatment, is that silver does not induce bacterial resistance and is effective against antibiotic resistant strains. Studies by Brigham Young University show that Silver Biotics effectively kills a wide variety of bacteria, including those responsible for everything from pneumonia to meningitis. (Reference 1) However, again these studies reflect laboratory experiments and the NCCAM warns that there is no scientific evidence supporting claims that the product cures disease.
The NCCAM indicates that colloidal silver is sometimes used to treat silver deficiency. However, silver has no known bodily function, and therefore no risk of deficiency exists. Sold as a dietary supplement, Silver Biotics is not subject to regulation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Under this classification, manufacturers are not allowed to make medicinal claims about the product. The FDA has issued warnings against colloidal silver use, and against claims made by colloidal silver manufacturers and distributors.
Shannon Weiman started writing in 2009. She is the science-in-the-community correspondent for the website MySDScience and she freelances for Red Funnel Consulting Group and the San Diego Zoo's Institute for Conservation Disease Labs. Weiman received her Bachelor of Arts in molecular and cell biology from Cornell University and a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences from University of California at San Diego.