Infection-Fighting Silver Gains New Respect from News Media

Hi, Steve Barwick here, for TheSilverEdge.com

Whether it's being used as a defense against deadly, antibiotic-resistant superbugs…as a means of preventing infections in surgical applications…as a powerful water disinfectant…or even in its new role as a cancer-fighting agent…silver has been "big news" from time to time over the past few years.

Here are just a few examples of positive articles about the healing and infection-fighting benefits of silver, which have appeared in the world press in recent years:

Daily Mail (Britain):
"Silver, the New Weapon Against Superbugs"

"A new study from Boston University revealed that adding silver to antibiotics enhanced the drugs' abilities to fight off lethal infections in mice.

...Through their tests, the team showed that just a small amount of silver made E. coli bacteria between 10 and 1,000 times more sensitive to commonly prescribed antibiotics, such as penicillin.

...Most importantly, the researchers showed that silver helped the antibiotic tetracycline fight a previously resilient strain of E. coli.

This signified that the combination of silver and antibiotics could be used to resensitize antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria.

'Overall, what we show is that small amounts of silver, non-toxic levels, can be used in conjunction with commonly used antibiotics to treat persistent infection and to treat bio-film based infections, which are problematic for medical implants,' Collins said."

– Daily Mail, "Silver Really Could Be the New Weapon Against Superbugs," June 23, 2013

British Broadcasting Company (BBC):
"No Safe and Effective Replacements for Silver"

"The medicinal properties of silver has been known since at least the times of Hippocrates, the Ancient Greek 'father of medicine', and rely on its toxic effects on pathogens, including bacteria and fungi.

Silver ions kill pathogens by binding to proteins in their cells, making silver compounds ideal for use in antiseptics and wound dressings. Nanoparticles of silver are even woven into socks and other clothing to reduce bacterial and fungal growth – and the odours that arise.

Silver is also used in heart valves and catheters, and researchers are now investigating silver's potential in killing cancer cells...says Alan Lansdown, an expert in medicinal uses for silver at Imperial College London.

There aren't really any effective and safe replacements for silver, except synthetic antibiotics."

– BBC Smart Planet, "Silver: The Harsh Realities Behind Diminishing Supplies," April, 18, 2012

New York Times:
"Silver One of Humankind's First Weapons Against Bacteria"

"Silver, one of humankind's first weapons against bacteria, is receiving new respect for its antiseptic powers thanks to the growing ability of researchers to tinker with its molecular structure.

Doctors prescribed silver to fight infections at least as far back as the days of ancient Greece and Egypt. Their knowledge was absorbed by Rome, where historians like Pliny the Elder reported that silver plasters caused wounds to close rapidly.

More recently, in 1884, a German doctor named C.S.F. Crede demonstrated that putting a few drops of silver nitrate into the eyes of babies born to women with venereal disease virtually eliminated the high rates of blindness among such infants.

But silver's time-tested if poorly understood versatility as a disinfectant was overshadowed in the latter half of the 20th century by the rise of antibiotics. Now, with more and more bacteria developing resistance to antibiotic drugs, some researchers and health care entrepreneurs have returned to silver for another look.

This time around, they are armed with nanotechnology, a fast-developing collection of products and skills that helps researchers deploy silver compounds in ways that maximize the availability of silver ions – the element's most potent form.

Scientists also now have a better understanding of the weaknesses of their microbial adversaries. One of the urgent goals is to prevent bacterial infections that each year strike 2 million hospital patients in the United States and kill 90,000, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Such infections are usually treated with large doses of antibiotics and sometimes with repeat surgeries. They cost the U.S. health care system roughly $4.5 billion annually, and the challenge is growing with the spread of drug-resistant microbes."

– New York Times, "Old Curative Gets New Life at Tiny Scale," December 20, 2005

Los Angeles Times:
"Bacteria Can't Become Silver-Resistant"

"But Dr. David Weber, an infectious disease and public health expert at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, isn't convinced that silver resistance will prove much of a problem.

Resistance to antibiotics occurs quite readily in bacteria once prolonged exposure to, say, penicillin, occurs. But there's little reason to suppose that resistance to silver would develop so easily, he says.

An antibiotic like penicillin works by hitting a bacterium in a limited fashion, at specific sites. Because the killing is done precisely, the bacterium has a good chance of developing a mutation that would confer resistance.

In contrast, silver kills microbes in a broad, unspecific fashion – like tossing a bomb at a bacterium. It hits many essential points such as a bacterium's entire respiratory system. This makes it much more difficult for silver-resistance to develop.

And even if tolerance did develop, Weber says, increasing the dose of silver the bacterium is exposed to will solve the problem in most cases."

– Los Angeles Times, "Will Bacteria Develop Resistance?" August 4, 2008

Scientific American:
"Silver Makes Antibiotics More Effective"

"Like werewolves and vampires, bacteria have a weakness: silver.

The precious metal has been used to fight infection for thousands of years – Hippocrates first described its antimicrobial properties in 400 bc – but how it works has been a mystery.

Now, a team led by James Collins, a biomedical engineer at Boston University in Massachusetts, has described how silver can disrupt bacteria, and shown that the ancient treatment could help to deal with the thoroughly modern scourge of antibiotic resistance.

...Collins and his team found that silver – in the form of dissolved ions – attacks bacterial cells in two main ways:

It makes the cell membrane more permeable, and it interferes with the cell's metabolism, leading to the overproduction of reactive, and often toxic, oxygen compounds.

Both mechanisms could potentially be harnessed to make today's antibiotics more effective against resistant bacteria, Collins says."

– Scientific American, "Silver Makes Antibiotics Thousands of Times More Effective," June 20, 2013

Wall Street Journal:
"Silver Kills Harmful Microbes"

"Silver, in the form of a metal or as dissolved ions, fights microorganisms by interfering with processes such as how they breathe and reproduce.

Tests show that silver ions kill microorganisms ranging from harmful strains of e. coli that cause food-borne diseases to the staphylococcus bacteria responsible for serious infections.

The metal becomes more active against microbes when it's made into small particles because they can cover more surface area when they come into direct contact with bacteria, says Andrew Maynard, a physicist and chief scientific adviser to the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington."

– Wall Street Journal, "The War Against Germs Has a Silver Lining," June 6, 2006

Pravda (Russia):
"Silver: Best Defense Against Bacteria and Viruses"

"The best defense against swine flu, or any flu, is the age old remedy of colloidal silver. The metal silver in its colloidal state can be safely consumed and used in the body.

Bacteria and viruses cannot develop resistance to colloidal silver. Silver disables a vital enzyme and mechanism in all bacteria and pathogens so that they cannot survive.

It is good to take a few teaspoons of colloidal silver daily to maintain health. More colloidal silver should be taken if experiencing illness."

– Pravda, "Colloidal Silver Can Be the Best Defense Against Swine Flu," March 4, 2009

The Gleaner (Jamaica's oldest newpaper):
"Residents Say Colloidal Silver Cures Everything"

"Colloidal silver was used by doctors in the early 20th century, but after the development of more modern antibiotics, its use dwindled. Since the 1990s, however, there has been a resurgence of its use amid claims that it is a cure-all.

Colloidal silver is now in Jamaica and several residents who have used the product are reporting amazing health benefits, dubbing it the miracle water.

Among them is 56-year-old Norman Campbell, popularly known as Boy Blue, of Standfast district in Browns Town, St Ann. Campbell told The Gleaner that he had an enlarged prostate, but after taking the water in prescribed doses for three months, the problem went away.

Tzdhne Ishigyhd, a Rastafarian who lives in the Corporate Area, said she is a lupus survivor and since using colloidal silver, the disease has gone into remission.

Another woman, Erna Hunter of Steer Town, St Ann, said the miracle water has lowered her blood sugar level, got rid of pain in her legs, and got rid of her sinus-related problems…

… Many people, since they have tried it, they have come back and say yes, it has made a difference in their lives. It's like a gift sent from God, Hall stated."

– The Gleaner, "The Miracle Water – Residents Say Colloidal Silver Cures Everything," June 15, 2013

Daily Mail (Britain):
"Silver Kills Cancer as Effectively as Chemotherapy"

"Silver can kill some cancers as effectively as chemotherapy and with potentially fewer side effects, new research claims. Scientists say that old wives tales about the precious metal being a 'silver bullet' to beat the Big C could be true.

The metal already has a wide range of medicinal uses and is a common antiseptic, antibiotic and means of purifying water in the third world.

And British researchers now say that silver compounds are as effective at killing certain cancer cells as a leading chemotherapy drug, but with potentially far fewer side-effects…

…The [researchers] compared it to Cisplatin, currently used to treat a wide variety of cancers, but known to have harsh side effects including nausea, vomiting and even kidney damage.

Silver is used already in everyday products such as deodorant with no known side-effects, and could make for a potentially cheaper alternative to platinum-based Cisplatin…

…Researchers from the University of Leeds conducted lab tests which exposed breast and colon cancer cells to various silver-based chemicals over a six day period.

Results, published in journal Dalton Transactions, showed that these silver-compounds were 'as effective as Cisplatin' at killing cancer with potentially fewer side effects.

While the team are still unsure about how exactly silver battles cancer, they think its effectiveness may be caused by the structure surrounding silver atoms, known as its ligand.

They think this may help release the silver ion into cells when it enters the body, killing any cancer."

– The Daily Mail, "Silver Bullet for Cancer: Metal Can Kill Some Tumors Better Than Chemotherapy With Fewer Side Effects," February 2, 2012

Science Daily:
"Silver Treats Cancer With Fewer Side Effects"

"The Internet is awash with stories of how silver can be used to treat cancer. Now, lab tests have shown that it is as effective as the leading chemotherapy drug – and may have fewer side-effects.

Results from the study at the University of Leeds, published in Dalton Transactions, show that particular silver compounds are as toxic to cancer cells as the platinum-based drug Cisplatin, which is widely used to treat a range of cancers."

But the crucial difference is that silver is thought to be much less toxic to healthy human cells, and in some cases, can be beneficial. Silver is currently used for its antiseptic and antibiotic properties, in bandages, wound dressings and water purification filters in the third world.

In Britain, Dr. Roger Phillips, from the Institute of Cancer Therapeutics at the University of Bradford in West Yorkshire, Britain, and Dr Charlotte Willans from the University of Leeds, are leading the charge in developing new, silver-based anti-cancer treatments.

Says Dr. Phillips about this new research:

"We have chosen silver because it has anti-cancer activity but it is inherently non-toxic to normal tissues. This project is therefore exciting because there is the possibility that we can develop a drug that is as active against tumors as Cisplatin but will be less toxic to normal tissues."

– Science Daily, "Silver Bullet to Beat Cancer?" February 2, 2012

The Telegraph (Britain):
"Silver Destroys Disease-Causing Viruses"

"Scientists have discovered that they can attach tiny studs of silver onto the surface of otherwise harmless bacteria, giving them the ability to destroy viruses.

They have tested the silver-impregnated bacteria against norovirus, which causes winter vomiting outbreaks, and found that they leaves the virus unable to cause infections.

The researchers now believe the same technique could help to combat other viruses, including influenza and those responsible for causing the common cold.

Professor Willy Verstraete, a microbiologist from the University of Ghent, Belgium, unveiled the findings at a meeting of the Society for Applied Microbiology in London last week.

He said: 'We are using silver nanoparticles, which are extremely small but give a large amount of surface area as they can clump around the virus, increasing the inhibiting effect.'

Dr Michael Dempsey, a biologist at Manchester Metropolitan University who has studied the effects of silver nanoparticles on microorganisms, said: 'A nanoparticle contains around 15,000 atoms of silver according to some recent research from China on how they work…

…This means a high concentration of silver atoms come into contact with the micro-organism, punch a hole in its wall and destroy it.'"

– The Telegraph, "Bacteria Turned Into Silver Bullet to Combat Flu," October 16, 2010

Daily Mail (Britain):
"Silver Beats Antibiotic Resistance"

"Silver could be a precious weapon in the fight against antibiotic resistance. Scientists have shown that giving tiny amounts of silver at the same time as antibiotics makes the drugs up to a thousand times more effective.

The finding comes in the wake of warnings by Britain's top doctor that the rise of drug-resistant superbugs could trigger an 'apocalyptic scenario' in which even routine operations such as hip surgery become deadly because we have run out of antibiotics.

…In experiments on mice, the Boston University researchers found that giving silver with antibiotics made them between ten and a thousand times better at fighting infections. In some cases, bugs classed as antibiotic resistant became treatable.

…The drugs could be laced with silver or covered in a fine coating of the precious metal and used to tackle dangerous stomach bugs, urinary tract infections or hard-to-treat films of bacteria that coat catheters.

The research, detailed in the journal Science Translational Medicine, also worked out how silver helps kill bugs.

The metal makes bacteria more 'leaky', allowing antibiotics to get inside them and kill them.

Plus, it boosts production of oxygen molecules that aid and abet the death."

– Daily Mail, "Silver Really COULD be the New Weapon Against Superbugs: Adding it to Antibiotics Boosts the Effectiveness by 1,000 Times," June 14, 2013

The Ivy Leaf (U.S. Army, Iraq):
"Silver Water Filters Stop Waterborne Diseases"

"As the scorching Iraqi sun blazed down on a little boy in a village, he cupped his hands together to drink water from a canal running through the middle of his town, unaware that 11,000 children like him die from water-borne diseases every day around the world who drink from similar canals.

As a way to resolve the local water problem and prevent tragedies such as this, leaders from 1st Battalion, 67th Armor Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, requested the help of a college professor to teach local Iraqi potters how to make clay/sawdust ceramic filter pots capable of decimating 99.88% of water-borne disease agents.

…To accomplish this, Richard Wukich, a college ceramics professor who teaches at Slippery Rock University in Pittsburgh, volunteered to instruct two Iraqi potters how to make the ceramic filters during his free time between semesters. He traveled to Iraq and spent two weeks training his new charges.

Wukich began his class by teaching the apprentices how to make clay pots with a mixture of saw dust, which is uncommon in Iraqi culture. The saw dust disappears during the clay baking process, creating several small holes that act as a filtering system inside the pot.

After crafting several pots, Wukich taught the trainees how to coat the pots with colloidal silver, an incredibly fine particle that kills bacteria and organisms and does not allow bacteria to grow into a culture inside the pot.

The pots are either painted with a brush or dipped into a container containing a colloidal silver and water mixture.

After the colloidal silver is completely absorbed into the pot, it is placed on the mouth of a 5-gallon receptacle container. The filter is then covered with a lid or a piece of fine cloth. Users pour water into the fine cloth to filter out extremely turbid water.

As the water enters the clay pot, the filters inside the clay leave small dirt particles behind and the colloidal silver destroys any bacteria in the water.

The clear and clean water then drips into the 5-gallon receptacle at a rate of 1-1.5 quarts-an-hour. 'This project was originally initiated by Capt. Richard Nardo,' said Wukich."

– The Ivy Leaf, U.S. Army, Iraq, "Water filter provides factions reason to unite, combat water problems in region", September 17, 2006

In Conclusion

Those excerpts are from just a few of the positive news articles on colloidal silver or other forms of antimicrobial silver I've seen in the world press, in recent years.

So it's good to know that the news media doesn't always fall victim to the hyperventilating claims of the shills for Big Pharma who constantly plant negative articles about silver in the press.

The truth is, colloidal silver and other forms of antimicrobial silver are used safely on a daily basis by tens of millions of people around the world. And more and more often, its astonishing disease-busting properties are being recognized worldwide.


Steve Barwick
Steve Barwick

Author