Colloidal Mineral Dangers
What Are Colloidal Minerals?
Mineral Primer, by Sally Fallon and Mary Enig, PhD, Weston A. Price Foundation.
Several types of mineral supplements are available commercially including chelated minerals, mineral salts, minerals dissolved in water and "colloidal" mineral preparations. A colloid is a dispersion of small particles in another substance. Soap, for example, forms a colloidal dispersion in water; milk is a dispersion of colloidal fats and proteins in water, along with dissolved lactose and minerals. Colloidal mineral preparations presumably differ from true solutions in that the size of the dispersed particles is ten to one thousand times larger than ions dissolved in a liquid. Colloidal dispersions tend to be cloudy; or they will scatter light that passes through them. Shine a flashlight through water containing soap or a few drops of milk and its path can be clearly seen, even if the water seems clear.
There is no evidence that the body absorbs colloidal mineral preparations any better than true solutions of mineral salts or minerals in chelated form. Many so-called "colloidal" formulas often contain undesirable additives, including citric acid, that prevent the mineral particles from settling to the bottom of the container. Furthermore, these products may contain an abundance of minerals that can be toxic in large amounts, such as silver and aluminum. Even mineral preparations in which the minerals are in true solution may contain minerals in amounts that may be toxic. If a product tastes very bitter, it probably should be avoided.
The Truth About Colloidal Minerals
One of the biggest
misinformation campaigns in today's health products marketplace is the use of colloidal minerals.
Colloidal minerals are getting a lot of publicity, and
many companies have used colloidal minerals to amass millions of dollars in
sales simply by using anecdotal stories about the effects of these minerals.
Many of these stories come from an audio tape entitled, "Dead Doctors Don't
Lie," that is currently being widely circulated.
information that we will present in this paper is not based on stories that are
impossible to back up or verify. So, in this paper, you will find facts based
on true research. In many instances throughout this paper, we have provided
references so, if you choose, you may go to those sources for additional,
"The current edition of Random House Dictionary of the
English Language defines colloids:
Physical chemistry( A.) a colloidal system, one in which a finely divided solid is
suspended in a liquid: such colloids range from solutions to gels. ( B ) a colloidal suspension... a
substance that when suspended in a liquid will not diffuse easily through
vegetable or animal membrane.
To be considered
"essential" to the human body, a mineral must demonstrate that
"a dietary deficiency of that element consistently results in a suboptimal
biological function that is preventable or reversible by physiological amounts
of the element".
Six criteria have been outlined to establish "essentiality.19
"For all practical purposes, there are only 17 minerals or elements of
substantiated nutritional value."
Minerals that many companies are selling in supplement form, including lead,
cadmium, mercury, boron, lithium, strontium, beryllium, rubidium and others,
have been referred to as "nonessential contaminants".
seems absurd that companies are having a heyday marketing minerals that have no
known value, while at the same time many consumers are fearful of taking
supplemental iron, a mineral that is an essential nutrient. Some people seem
concerned over taking too much of an essential mineral, but are lured by claims
of minerals, such as silver, that have well-documented toxic effects.
how it was put in a quote I recently read, "Many are offended by the dangers of pollution in the water supply
with heavy metal contamination or overexposure to known toxic substances. Why
wouldn't they feel the same about supplementation of known toxic
would someone who is careful about health and nutrition or worried about
pollution and environmental toxins, take dietary supplements that are described
not in pharmacological textbooks, but in books about poisons and toxins.
Perhaps the marketers have done such a good job of veiling the truth that
consumers are simply unaware of the potential dangers. Here are just a few:
The major effect of excessive absorption of
silver is generalized impregnation (saturation) of the tissues where it forms
an insoluble complex. It accumulates in
the spleen, liver, bone marrow, lungs, muscles and skin. Lesions of the kidney and lungs, as well as
arteriosclerosis have been attributed to industrial and medicinal silver
colloidal silver was given to experimental animals, it produced death due to
pulmonary edema (fluid accumulation and swelling in the lungs) and congestion. Hemolysis (breakdown of red blood cells) and resulting bone
marrow hyperplasia (abnormal multiplication of cells or enlargement of a part
due to an abnormal increase of its cells) have been reported with silver.
Chronic bronchitis has been reported from the medicinal use of colloidal silver.
Source: Colloidal Silver Proteins Marketed as Health Supplements.
The following is a letter to the editor that
appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) on October 18, 1995 - Vol. 274, No. 15. This article was written by
doctors from the Food and Drug Administration about the dangers of Silver.
This, of course, doesn't mean ANYTHING of itself, but it does lend support to
the other sources warning of regular colloidal silver use.
While occasional use
of Colloidal Silver may appear helpful, we
at Pure Health Systems believe there is a much better way to support the immune
system and resist Bacterial or Viral Health Threats!
To the Editor - Silver compounds have been used
as medicinals for centuries. (1) In the 19th century,
colloidal silver proteins (CSP's) were promoted as
cure-alls to prevent and treat diseases such as tetanus and rheumatism.
century up until World War II, CSP's were widely used
to treat colds and gonorrhea. However, in recent
decades, the medicinal use of silver has been largely replaced by safer and
more effective therapies.
Since 1990, interest has resurged in promoting
CSP products as "essential" mineral supplements with multiple health
claims (Roma Egli, FDA Nontraditional
Drug Compliance Branch, written communication, February 1995).
advertising materials in health food stores promote CSP use in more than 650
different diseases. Colloidal silver proteins are being touted as powerful
antimicrobials against viruses, bacteria, parasites, and fungi, including human
immunodeficiency virus (HIV), herpes, Candida, and tuberculosis.
The CSP's also have
been advertised as "an immune system stimulant and anti-inflammatory
agent," for use in conditions such as diabetes, chronic fatigue syndrome,
allergies, and cancer.
One manufacturer quoted a researcher in an unpublished
article, "If we cannot assimilate silver for some reason or as the tissue
ages, we develop a silver deficiency and an impaired immune system leading to
cancer. When silver was present, the cancer cell de-differentiated and the body
Initially available in Northwestern
states, CSP's are now widely available throughout the
United States because of aggressive
marketing by distributors.
They are recommended for use in adults, pregnant and
lactating women, and children; they are available as oral solutions, aerosols, intravaginal douches, and injectables;
and they are labeled as nontoxic
and void of drug interactions.
Recently, combination products became available
as mixed mineral supplements and as a mixed CSP - colloidal copper-menthol
product for minor skin ailments.
Contrary to these promotional claims, silver is
not an essential mineral supplement and has no known physiologic function. The
use of silver products as germicidals has chiefly
Efficacy claims for the treatment of infectious diseases such as
tuberculosis, malaria, and systemic fungal infections or for the prevention of
cancer, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), and diabetes remain unproven.
Use of such products with unsubstantiated claims can delay appropriate medical
intervention, resulting in deleterious consequences.
is not without toxicity. Silver accumulates in the body and may result in
bluish skin discoloration (argyria). (2) While silver
deposits derive from dietary (eg. mushrooms, milk,
and bran), environmental, or industrial exposures, the indiscriminate use of CSP's and other silver medicinals
adds unnecessary exposure and may result in argyria.
Although primarily a cosmetic concern, argyria is
irreversible and has no effective treatment. In addition, neurologic
deficits (3) and diffuse silver deposition in visceral organs (4) have been
reported with long-term use of oral silver products.
Renal damage and metal
fume fever have been reported with high silver exposures. We are concerned that
renewed interest in CSP's among health food
enthusiasts could lead to increased toxicity.
Slate-Grey Skin Caused by Taking Silver Supplements
Source: The Silver Supplement Fraud.
(Testimonial by a woman with Argyria)
Right after starting high school at the age of 14, my friends and I volunteered
to work in the local hospital as "candy stripers."
The hospital was
run by a Catholic order of nursing sisters who required that all new volunteers
attend a class at their convent once a week on Saturday mornings. The nun who
gave the course was also a nurse and a pharmacist. One morning when I walked in
she was very startled by my appearance.
you that color?" she asked. What color? No one had noticed that my color
was weird until then. She repeated, "Why are you that color? Ask the
doctor." Suddenly everyone noticed. I was slate-gray.
We had a family friend, a general practitioner, who made an appointment for me
to see a dermatologist.
Meanwhile, Saturday rolled around again and I went back
to class. This time Sister greeted me with, "You're taking nose drops,
aren't you?" I told her I was. "Stop," she said. "They have
silver in them. That's why you're gray."
She had seen
another nursing sister at the hospital with the same skin discoloration which
was also caused by nose drops, probably from the same doctor who was on their
staff. The dermatologist took one look at me and diagnosed argyria
- a permanent, irreversible skin discoloration caused by the ingestion of
confirmed the diagnosis showing all the little specks of silver in my skin.
Unfortunately, that is the only information that I have ever been able to get
about the drug that disfigured me. No one ever sued doctors back then.
What are the risks of using these products?
have shown that silver builds up in the tissues of the body. In humans, buildup of silver from colloidal silver can lead to a side
effect called argyria. It causes a bluish-gray discoloration of the skin, other organs, deep tissues,
nails, and gums.
Argyria cannot be treated or
reversed, and it is permanent. While it is not known how argyria
occurs, it is thought that silver combines with protein, forming complexes that
deposit in the skin and are processed by sunlight (as in traditional
Other side effects from using colloidal silver
products may include neurologic problems (such as
seizures), kidney damage, stomach distress, headaches, fatigue, and skin