While reviews from the medical world may be divided on the use of colloidal silver supplements, the Food and Drug Administration has its own view and has issued a consumer advisory warning about the side effects of dietary supplements containing silver.
The FDA safety alert
states, “Silver is a nonessential mineral that has no known physiological functions or benefits when taken orally.”
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The advisory focuses mainly on the common occurrence of argyria, a blue-gray discoloration of the skin, nails, gums, and conjunctiva, which is the clear membrane covering the white part of the eye.
Argyria is typically permanent and there is no known treatment for it. While it does not do harm physiologically, it can impact an individual psychologically and socially, the FDA said.
Additionally, the FDA warns silver supplements could interfere with absorption of certain drugs, including quinolone antibiotics, tetracycline antibiotics, thyroxine, and penacillamine.
While the agency does not provide dosage suggestions, it makes reference to the Environmental Protection Agency’s chronic oral Reference Dose
, which states to not exceed 5 micrograms of silver per kilogram of body weight each day.
The FDA does note silver has some medical uses deemed appropriate, including instances in medicines, bandages, and dressings for treating burns, skin wounds, and skin infections, as well as drugs to prevent the eye condition conjunctivitis in newborns.
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There aren’t, however, any legally marketed prescriptions or over-the-counter medicines containing silver that are orally taken.
Additionally, the FDA notes that it is unlawful for producers of silver supplements to claim them able to “prevent, diagnose, mitigate, treat, or cure any disease.”
The FDA and Federal Trade Commission have taken action against producers for making claims that mislead customers about their products containing silver.
The FDA urges individuals to report cases of argyria or other side effects from colloidal silver supplements to their MedWatch program.
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