Silver protein products are the second most prevalent type of so-called colloidal silver products on the market. These products consist of a combination of metallic silver particles and a protein binder and can easily be produced by simply adding water to silver protein powder sold by various chemical companies.
Most products claiming to be high concentrations of colloidal silver (typically in the range of 30 to 20,000 ppm) are in fact silver protein colloids. While some of these products are labeled as Silver Protein or Mild Silver Protein, many such products are simply labeled as colloidal silver and the word protein does not appear anywhere on the label or in the product advertising literature.
Silver protein products generally have very large silver particles, so large that they would not remain suspended as colloidal particles without protein additives. Protein additives help to keep the large particles from settling. While various protein binders may be used, the protein most commonly used is gelatin, which is made by boiling the skin, tendons, and ligaments of animals. For large metallic silver particles to remain suspended in water, they need additional buoyancy to keep from sinking. Gelatin molecules will encapsulate each particle of silver and add enough buoyancy so that it does not sink to the bottom. The presence of gelatin creates a risk of bacteria and is one of the dangers of taking this product.
Of the three types of colloidal silver, silver protein products have the lowest particle surface area for a given silver concentration, making the silver inaccessible for safe human absorption and less effective for human use. Particle surface area, as we will cover later, is the single most important determinant of colloidal silver effectiveness. Click here for scanning electron microscope (SEM) images of silver protein products that clearly show the very large size of the silver particles (which appear to range in size from about 100 nm up to 10,000 nm with some much larger).
Testing for Silver Protein
To find out whether you have a silver protein product rather than a true silver colloid, look for these characteristics:
- Makes foam:When shaken, a silver protein product produces foam above the liquid that will persist for minutes after being shaken. This is probably the single most reliable indicator. Even when the product label identifies the product simply as colloidal silver and never mentions the word protein, this indicator will signal the presence of a protein binder. Shake the bottle and look for foaming. When the foam persists, protein is present.
- Concentration: Silver protein products tend to have very high concentration values, typically in the range of 30 to 20,000 ppm. Concentration is expressed in parts per million (ppm) and is numerically the same as milligrams of silver per liter of water (mg/L).
- Color:The color ranges from light amber to almost black with an increasing concentration of silver.
- Due to the high concentration of large silver particles, silver protein products are known to cause argyria, a condition that causes the skin to turn blue-gray. These and other dangers associated with silver protein are described in About Silver Protein Products.
- Adding protein to colloidal silver is also potentially unsafe because of bacteria, according to Professor Ronald Gibbs who discussed this fact in his booklet “Silver Colloids“. He found “mild silver protein” products that had live bacteria growing on the protein. This can happen when protein is mixed with colloidal silver because the protein molecules are large and encapsulate the silver particles, which prevent the silver from reaching the bacteria to kill it. Normally, it would be impossible for bacteria to live in colloidal silver, but it is common in products containing protein. For this reason, Professor Gibbs recommended that silver protein products should be avoided.Here is the quote from Professor Gibbs book concerning use of protein to stabilize colloidal silver: “A fifth sample considered showed fuzzy clusters around silver particles when viewed in water . . . . As suspected, this fuzzy material fluoresced indicating the material was, indeed, live bacteria growing on the gelatin that had apparently been used to stabilize the colloidal silver suspension. In Figure 3A the black dots inside the fuzzy mass are the silver particles. This sample exhibits the poor quality control that is totally unacceptable in this type of product. This sample was removed from further consideration and analysis .” Professor Gibbs’ book “Silver Colloids, Do They Work?” can be downloaded here.
List Of Silver Protein-Based Products