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May 3, 2004

Robert C. Holladay, MS

Copyright 2004 Robert C. Holladay


            In 1999 I began ingesting colloidal silver (CS) along with several of my relatives.  Previously, most of us would get sick about 3 times per year, usually in the winter.  I began ingesting one teaspoon of 10 ppm CS daily, and did not get sick for 12 months.  During the second year, I ingested the same dose, but it appeared to have no effect.  After ingesting CS each day for 24 months, I stopped ingesting it daily, and began ingesting it only when I got sick or when someone in my household got sick.  CS began to be effective for me again when I reduced my frequency of my doses.

            Several of my relatives ingested 2-3 teaspoons of 10 ppm CS daily during only the winter months and did not get sick during the winter for 2-3 years.  After 3 years, most of them had stopped using CS as a daily prophylactic because its effect had diminished.  They began ingesting it only when they were sick, or when someone in their household was sick.  After doing this, the CS began to be effective again.

            On average, most of my relatives and I would agree that ingesting CS when we are sick or when someone in our household is sick reduces the number of days we are sick throughout the year by about 75%.

            Two of my relatives have been ingesting CS daily as a prophylactic for over four years and have not been sick during that time. 

            Several university reports have surfaced on the Internet which indicate that in order to inhibit microorganisms, CS must be present in quantities of 1-10 ppm.  When I ingested one teaspoon of 10 ppm CS daily, the silver would have been diluted into minute quantities in my bloodstream.  Assuming that all the CS was absorbed into my bloodstream at once, and none of it was removed, (this would never happen) one teaspoon (5 ml) of CS would be diluted into roughly 5.5 liters of blood.  My bloodstream would have a silver content of less than 0.01 ppm CS.  A level of silver this low would be ineffective against pathogens.  In addition, several researchers have determined that the antimicrobial effect of silver is greatly decreased in blood. (Document 1, reference 100; Document 2, references 1 and 24; Document 6, reference 5)

            On several occasions, my relatives and I have experimented by ingesting vastly different quantities of CS when sick.  We have not noticed any difference when ingesting 2 teaspoons of 10 ppm CS as opposed to 2 cups of 10 ppm CS.

            The above information has lead me to conclude that CS is probably a very potent immune-stimulating agent.  This would explain many of the claims that CS is useful in treating a multitude of infectious diseases.  It would also explain the claims that CS is useful in treating cancer.

            I will not disclose the brand of CS which my relatives and I use because I do not wish to be seen as promoting any particular brand.  It is a high-quality solution manufactured by electrolysis containing silver and water.  It is not a colloidal silver protein, and it does not contain any sort of stabilizing agent.  The silver particles do not precipitate on the bottom, adsorb on the surface of the container, or aggregate; the silver content does not vary, even after extended periods of time.  The particle size is small, and it is an effective antimicrobial agent.  If any websites claim to have sold me their CS, don’t believe it; there is no way the manufacturer can determine which product I am using.  It is possible that I used CS with a concentration other than 10 ppm, but converted the amount of silver present to that in a 10 ppm solution in order to disguise the brand of CS which I use. (10 ppm is the most common concentration of CS sold today)    

            The prevalent theory circulating on the Internet states that CS works like an antibiotic- when ingested, the silver particles are absorbed into the bloodstream and kill the undesired microbes by contact.  I do not favor this theory.  If CS works like an antibiotic, ingesting large doses of it would have a greater effect; but that does not appear to happen.  

            Shortly after September 11, 2001 I began collecting information relating to CS with the intent of pursuing a PhD.  Because I do not know when I will pursue a PhD, or what I will be researching (CS or benfotiamine), I have decided to copyright my CS research and post it online.  My annotated bibliographies were created to provide the reader with access to the medical literature relating to silver without having to spend the countless hours digging up all the relevant literature.

            When reading my annotated bibliographies, it is important to note that while I was collecting my post-1950 sources I was looking for publications which supported the observations that silver is a very potent antimicrobial agent.  Publications do exist which do not substantiate observations of the antimicrobial potency of silver (especially regarding silver-coated catheters and other implant devices), but these publications are considerably less common, and they are generally dismissed by silver-promoting scientists because of improper methods or products.  While I was searching the pre-1950 literature, I was searching for documents describing the effects of silver on the immune system, and the injection of colloidal metals.  I was not searching for documents describing the early uses of silver, even though I came across many of these by chance and used them to create Document 2.

            Much of the pre-1950 literature is questionable.  In many cases, the medical journal articles consist of little more than doctor’s testimonials.  The most unscientific of these publications are labeled “anecdotal” in my annotated bibliography.  In many instances the researchers make unwarranted leaps, do not use proper controls, and leave out important details.  Most of the time, it is impossible to calculate the dosage of silver administered. 

            In the pre-1950 literature, the term “colloidal silver” is used interchangeably with the term “colloidal silver protein”.  In the early literature, when the phrase “colloidal silver” is used, the author is talking about colloidal silver protein most of the time, and references to CS containing nothing but water and silver are rare.  Colloidal silver protein products were sold under various names such as Collargol, Argyrol, Collosol, Electrargol etc.  After examining publications describing the silver contents of these brands, including several pre-1950 pharmacology books, I have found that the contents and silver concentration of these brands can vary considerably.  If the author does not list the silver concentration of the CS in his article, it is uncertain.

            One question I have been unable to answer is why the early CS products were usually not made by electrolysis, and why they almost always contained protein.  After all, I believe there are several solutions on the market today that are manufactured by electrolysis, contain no protein, have a small particle size, and are very stable.  I would never ingest a CS product that contained protein.

            Silver oxide possesses superior antimicrobial capabilities. (Document 1, references 4, 7 and 14) One possible explanation for the widespread use of colloidal silver protein solutions in the early 1900s is that medical professionals preferred to use silver oxide, which is dark, brittle, and easy to grind.  However, after grinding, the particles would be too large to stay suspended in water and would require a stabilizing agent such as protein.  Most mild and strong protein solutions were made using silver oxide. (Document 1, reference 2)

            Silver ions in water are more effective than in other types of media, generally effective in just parts per billion. 

            Because the pre-1950 literature is difficult to find in many areas of the U.S., and because it is not indexed in databases, my summaries of the early literature are generally more thorough than my summaries of the post-1950 literature.

            In the post-1950 literature, it is apparent that in the many silver –containing products available, from silver sulfadiazine to silver zeolite, the silver ion is the source of antimicrobial activity.  The publications describing these various products are relevant to CS because CS contains silver ions suspended in water.  In many publications the researchers tested silver compounds against Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus because these bacteria are generally difficult to inhibit, and if an antimicrobial agent will inhibit them, it is likely to be effective against a host of other bacteria. 

            If CS does stimulate the immune system, how does it work?  I would hypothesize that it may have multiple mechanisms of action.  If silver is ingested and absorbed into the bloodstream, foreign matter would be present in the bloodstream.  Documents 3 and 5 show that when foreign material is introduced into the bloodstream, the immune system can be stimulated.  Document 2, references 14,15 and 16 show that cell death and injury can stimulate the immune system.  Several researchers have demonstrated that silver can kill mammalian cells.  CS may stimulate the immune system by damaging or killing a small number of cells.  Several researchers have determined that CS combines with proteins in the bloodstream.  This may damage them or make them appear foreign.  Some sources also suggest that silver itself may have a unique effect on the immune system. (Document 1, reference 57 and Document 4, reference 11)

            Document 1, reference 73 is an interesting publication.  In it, silver sulfadiazine was shown to inhibit 657 different types of bacteria.  This information has been twisted by many CS vendors into claims that CS cures 650 different types of diseases. 

            Quantifying the antimicrobial effects of silver ions can be hard because of the difficulty associated with handling silver compounds and the lack of details present in many publications.  This has lead several researchers to state that the various publications are not comparable because of different methods used and lack of detail. (Document 1, reference 17, Document 1, reference 59 and Document 4, reference 22)  Several seemingly credible reports on the antimicrobial effectiveness of various CS solutions have surfaced on the Internet.  The CS solutions mentioned in these reports can not be compared because of possible differences in experimental procedures.

            Because of my personal connections, I have cheap access to a high-quality CS solution.  I know several people who have tried the high-quality solution I use and do not find it to be different from the solutions they make at home with their machines. (however, I have not tested their CS for silver content)  If I was not well-connected, I would manufacture my own CS with one of the machines sold on the Internet even though I would probably have to ingest more silver to get the same result.  I would also purchase the necessary equipment to test the silver content of the homemade solution.  Failure to do this could result in argyria. Because the electrodes decrease in size and usually become corroded with use, the silver concentration after leaving a CS-making machine on for a period of time will vary.  Therefore sending a sample to a lab once to determine the silver concentration of CS would not work.  In addition, some homemade CS will adsorb to the walls of the container, aggregate, and fall to the bottom of the container.  When sending a sample to a lab, the sample will be at least 2-3 days old by the time it is tested, whereas many people ingest their CS as soon as it is manufactured, when it has a higher silver content.      

            Document 7, references 3 and 4 describe people who have argyria as a result of CS and colloidal silver protein ingestion in recent years.  Caution should be used when ingesting silver.

            Document 6 describes many early experiments in which injections of large amounts of silver result in an increased leukocyte count.  Most of these CS solutions were colloidal silver protein solutions, and Document 5 lists several experiments in which injections of foreign protein stimulated the immune system.  In addition, the amounts of silver necessary to stimulate leukocyte count were far greater than the amount of CS my relatives and I ingest. 

            I performed a preliminary experiment to determine if oral ingestion of CS causes an increased leukocyte count.  After water was withheld from 12 rats and 2 rabbits for 12 hours, they were allowed to drink freely from 10 ppm CS.  Blood samples were taken 15 minutes to 24 hours later and CBC counts with differential were performed.  A total of 12 control and 24 test samples were taken.  These tests were performed over a period of 5 weeks and some animals were tested several times.  There was no clear significant pattern of increased leukocyte count.  Although the numbers of animals and blood samples taken was too small to come to any definitive conclusion, it is likely that ingestion of 10 ppm CS does not cause an increased leukocyte count.  It is possible that the 10 ppm CS was obtained by diluting a higher concentration or concentrating a smaller concentration.

            I included the full names of the medical journal titles in my annotated bibliographies because most people who read my research will probably be lay researchers.  The following definitions and explanations would be of use to the lay researcher interested in reading my research:

Ag- The symbol for silver.

Ag+- The symbol for a silver ion.  (an electron has been stripped from the atom, giving it a positive charge)

In vitro- In a test tube, not a real-life situation; eg. testing antimicrobial agents on bacteria in a Petri dish.

In vivo- In a real life situation; eg. testing antimicrobial agents on animals that have open wounds.

MIC- Minimum inhibitory concentration.  The lowest level at which the reproduction of a microorganism is stopped.

Bacteriostatic- Capable of inhibiting the growth of a microorganism.

Bactericidal-  Capable of killing a microorganism.

Sulphadiazine is the British spelling for sulfadiazine.

AgSD and SSD are abbreviations for silver sulfadiazine.

Hemolysis- The destruction of red blood cells.

Leukocyte- White blood cells. (fight infection)

Luekocytosis- An elevation in leukocyte count.

Leukopenia- A decrease in leukocyte count.

1 microgram/ml = 1 ppm

Sepsis- infection in the blood stream.

Osteomyelitis- Bone infection.

Oligodynamic- Effective in small quantities.