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What is colloidal silver? The risks and benefits of the health product

There are a ton of medical products known to provide health benefits. One includes colloidal silver, but scientists are questioning its effects. 

» RELATED: Peachtree City company warned about promoting unapproved drugs

A dietary supplement maker, based in Peach Tree City, is facing federal sanctions for promoting the use of products with colloidal silver to ward off or treat a number of diseases.

However, there’s no high-quality evidence backing such claims, the government says.

Want to learn more about the product? Here’s what you should know. 

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What is colloidal silver?

Colloidal silver is a commercially sold product that contains tiny particles of pure silver, according to the National Institute of Healths (NIH)

What are some of the benefits?

Many say it is an antibacterial agent and dietary supplement, according to NIH. It’s also been said to treat skin wounds and many illnesses, including bronchitic, digestion, ear infections, tuberculosis and even HIV/AIDS, according to WEBmd.

However, there is no scientific evidence to support the claims. In fact, in 1999, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned that colloidal silver isn’t safe or effective for treating any disease or condition.

Since then, the FDA and the Federal Trade Commission have taken action against numerous companies and websites for claims about the supposed health benefits of colloidal silver.

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What are some of the side effects?

It can cause serious side effects, the NIH noted. One of the most common ones is argyria, which is a bluish-gray discoloration of the skin that can be permanent. The product can also cause poor absorption of certain drugs, such as antibiotics and thyroxine. 

What are the forms of colloidal silver?

Colloidal silver is generally sold in the form of a liquid. Many brands suggest that adults consume 1 teaspoon of the product, which can be diluted with water or juice. Children are only recommended to take a quarter to half a teaspoon. 

What else should I know?

Although people may be naturally exposed to silver through air, water and food, the element is not nutritionally essential.

Furthermore, the NIH says colloidal silver should never be replaced with conventional medical care. The organization also believes it should not be used as a reason to postpone visiting a healthcare provider. 

» RELATED: Study: Popular vitamins, mineral supplements have few health benefits

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