Mercola writes:

Over the past few years, several studies have demonstrated the fact that silver is indeed one of the most effective agents in the battle against antibiotic-resistant super pathogens. Yet conventional medicine has largely dismissed such claims, relegating colloidal silver to the "woo-woo" section of medical myth.

Are there real studies that support the usage of colloidal silver? Are there studies that show it doesn't work?

  • The article cites sources 11 and 12, which seem to be what you're looking for. 12 is 404, but I believe is supposed to be this one.
    – user11643
    Mar 2, 2017 at 0:35

1 Answer 1


In 1996, the evidence for silver as a treatment was reviewed:

It explains that silver has been promoted as a topical ointment for the treating of warts, burns and as an antiseptic. Colloidal silver has also been promoted as an "antibiotic" for ingestion.

However (as of 20 years ago), there was little evidence for its effectiveness:

Recent promotional assertions made anout the effectiveness of these products in numerous diseases remains unsubstantiated. [...] We conclude that the risk exceeds the unsubstantiated benefit for OTC silver-containing products. Consequently, there are no FDA approved CSP products available OTC.

What risk are they talking about? Well these is a more recent review of that:

The adverse effects of chronic exposure to silver are a permanent bluish-gray discoloration of the skin (argyria) or eyes (argyrosis). Most studies discuss cases of argyria and argyrosis that have resulted primarily from exposure to the soluble forms of silver. Besides argyria and argyrosis, exposure to soluble silver compounds may produce other toxic effects, including liver and kidney damage, irritation of the eyes, skin, respiratory, and intestinal tract, and changes in blood cells.

  • Does little evidence for effectivness mean "hasn't been studied" or "has been studied without effects getting found"?
    – Christian
    Mar 2, 2017 at 23:00
  • @Christian: In 1999 the FDA concluded the former, dismissing all the studies that had been submitted: "The agency finds that the previous studies are not adequate and well-controlled clinical studies of the type described in Sec. 314.126 (21 CFR 314.126) that need to be conducted. The studies have major methodic flaws."
    – Oddthinking
    Mar 2, 2017 at 23:11
  • They also report a commenter observing that the ingredients in the available products varied wildly, not necessarily matching the labels, which made it harder to conclude that they were effective.
    – Oddthinking
    Mar 2, 2017 at 23:13

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