Thursday, May 10, 2012

Using Colloidal Silver With a Nebulizer

Is nebulizing colloidal silver a safe and effective method of colloidal silver usage?  Some colloidal silver advocates say it is.  Many of them cite dramatic instances of profound healing they’ve experienced by using this method. 

Others, like myself, tend to be enthusiastic about the effectiveness of nebulizing colloidal silver, but very conservative regarding the use of this method until clinical studies can demonstrate conclusively the long-term safety of inhaling minute silver particles into the soft tissues of the lungs.

After all, there have been ZERO human safety studies conducted on inhaling colloidal silver.  And “safety first” should always be your motto when it comes to your long-term health and well-being.  With that in mind, here’s what you need to know about nebulizing colloidal silver…

Hi, Steve Barwick here, for

Back in October 2001 the prestigious Health Sciences Institute pointed out that nebulizing colloidal silver directly into the lungs is one of the fastest ways of effectively eliminating serious upper respiratory infections, including bronchitis and pneumonia.

One of their well-known health symposium panelists, Dr. Victor A. Marcial-Vega, M.D., had discovered, while dealing with pneumonia patients, that colloidal silver can be quickly and easily atomized into a fine mist and inhaled into the lungs using a device called a nebulizer.  The silver is then easily carried into the human blood stream and from there directly into the body’s cells and tissues.

The apparent result was rapid and highly effective remission of pneumonia symptoms, as the tiny silver particles in the colloidal silver killed the infectious agents causing the pneumonia.

What’s more, a clinical study on animals was conducted several years ago in which inhalation of silver nanoparticles appeared to provide miraculous protection against pneumonia infection. 

In fact, in the above-linked article on this study, it was reported that mice purposely infected with pneumonia bacteria easily survived the infection when they were allowed to inhale silver nanoparticles once per day, whereas mice with the same infection but which were not allowed to inhale silver nanoparticles all died. 

While this is one of the very few clinical studies to date conducted on inhaling antimicrobial silver, it does seem to offer profound hope that a safe, natural way has been discovered to help staunch the devastating effects of serious upper respiratory infections. 

Not so Fast…

However…additional safety studies on animals have found that long-term inhalation of silver into the lungs can lead to accumulation of silver in the soft tissues of the lungs, as well as inflammation, reduced lung function and other problems. 

While these animal studies are not conclusive regarding the safety of nebulizing colloidal silver into the lungs, they do indicate that until human safety studies are conducted, significant caution and common sense should be utilized when considering such a means of delivering colloidal silver into the body. 

In just a moment we’ll take a look at those animal safety studies, and discuss their significance to humans.  But first, for those who may be unfamiliar with the idea of nebulizing, here’s a brief overview:   

Nebulizing:  the Short Course

The process of “nebulizing” certain liquid medications is chiefly used by asthmatics who need to get their medications deep into the lungs as rapidly as possible during the course of an asthma attack, or to prevent one from taking place. 

But it can also be used with other liquid medications, as well as natural liquid substances such as certain homeopathic remedies, or even colloidal silver.

Here’s how it works:  A liquid medication is poured into a small basin, or water well that’s generally located in the neck of a device called an ultrasonic nebulizer. 

When the nebulizer is started, the liquid is aerosolized into a super-fine mist.  And depending upon which type of nebulizer you own, the mist gently emits through a small mouthpiece, or through a mask that goes over the face. 

As the fine atomized mist comes out of the mouthpiece, or the mask, it can then be easily inhaled directly into the lungs.  And from the lungs the body can efficiently and effectively distribute the medication straight into the blood stream, cells and tissues. 

Obtaining a Nebulizer

Nebulizers are considered to be medical devices, so most commercial drug stores or medical outlets want a prescription from your doctor before they'll sell you one. However, people often sell them on eBay and other web sites, with no requirement of a medical prescription. 

So if you’re adventurous, and you understand that this is highly experimental and you’re willing to take personal responsibility for your own decisions, you can easily pick one up for under $40 or so by going to eBay and using the eBay search engine.

Just search under the term "nebulizer" or “Omron nebulizer” and you’re sure to find one.  (Omron is one of the top manufacturers of commercial nebulizers.  I have the Omron brand, but there are others you can get if you like.) 

One Doctor’s Successful Results

Here’s what the Health Sciences Institute told their members about nebulizing colloidal silver back in 2001.  (This was directly after the 9-11 attacks on New York City and Washington D.C., and subsequent anthrax mailings; hence the references to anthrax):

“Just in his last decade of medical practice, Dr. Marcial-Vega has treated hundreds of people with a variety of viral, fungal, and bacterial pneumonias. And of all the available treatments, he has seen the greatest success with nebulizer treatments using a colloidal silver preparation.

Silver has long been known for its anti-bacterial properties, and the nebulizer allows the mineral to reach the lungs and kill harmful bacteria. Now, in the face of the anthrax threat, he believes it can do the same thing with anthrax spores.

'We are constantly filtering all kinds of bacteria through our lungs,' explained Dr. Marcial-Vega. Normally, a healthy body is able to kill off any dangerous bacteria on its own. But in the case of illness, like pneumonia, or an especially lethal bacteria like anthrax, the body may need some extra help.

Dr. Marcial-Vega says there are no concerns about using this treatment because colloidal silver has no toxicity and no side effects. He has used the colloidal silver nebulizer treatments on infants, the elderly, and AIDS patients with pneumonia and has seen great results. All have responded quickly to the treatment even when no other approach seemed to help, and no one reported any adverse reactions.”

On his web site, Dr. Marcial-Vega explains more about how to nebulize colloidal silver:

 “Nebulization- Excellent for respiratory tract infections such as pneumonia and bronchitis.

Put 15 cc (two teaspoons) in the included receptacle, turn on the machine and breathe deeply and slowly for approximately 15 minutes or until all the liquid is gone. Repeat three times a day for colds, pneumonias, bronchitis and sinusitis.

If it makes you cough too much, add 20-30 grains of sea salt to the liquid just before nebulizing and shake.

This is a natural antibiotic that contains water and silver in a colloidal suspension. It is effective against bacteria, viruses and fungi.”

-- Dr. Victor Marcial-Vega, M.D., former Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Miami School of Medicine from 1990 to 1994.

Unfortunately, Dr. Marcial-Vega doesn’t state on his web site the specific concentration of colloidal silver he uses when nebulizing colloidal silver. 

But from what I’ve read on the internet, most people who nebulize colloidal silver are using between 5 ppm and 10 ppm, with some daring souls going as high as 20 ppm.  

Use Caution and Common Sense!

In spite of Dr. Marcial-Vega’s comment that “no one reported any adverse reactions” during the numerous times he’s used colloidal silver with a nebulizer to treat various forms of pneumonia, you should always remember that nebulizing colloidal silver is a HIGHLY EXPERIMENTAL procedure.  

And just because “no one reported” any adverse reactions during short terms of treatment, doesn’t mean there won’t be any over the longer-term if inhalation of colloidal silver is continued on a regular basis.  As we now know, silver toxicity from excessive intake and long-term accumulation can take years to show up.

I say that because literally ZERO clinical safety studies have been conducted on this method of treatment with colloidal silver.  In other words, in the short-term, nebulizing colloidal silver may be perfectly safe.  But in the long-term, no one really knows what the cumulative effects of nebulizing tiny silver particles directly into the soft tissues of the lungs may be. 

Experimenting On Yourself…

This is why I always state that if you intend to nebulize colloidal silver, you should do so only with the clear and distinct understanding that you are experimenting on yourself, and that nebulizing excessively (and no one at this point knows what “excessively” is) might produce negative consequences somewhere down the road.

Considering this, it makes sense to conclude that if you decide to nebulize colloidal silver you should limit your use of nebulized colloidal silver to only those times when you feel it’s absolutely necessary, such as for short periods of time during an upper respiratory infection. 

And even then, proceed only with due caution and common sense, and preferably with your doctor’s oversight. 

Nebulizing colloidal silver should NOT be done on a regular basis as a standard means of consuming colloidal silver.  Until clinical research demonstrates otherwise, the potential risks are just too great.

Perfectly Safe?

I know there are folks on the internet who say nebulizing colloidal silver as a regular means of intake is “perfectly safe” as long as your colloidal silver is made correctly. 

There’s even a gentleman who sells a conventional colloidal silver generator along with a cheap nebulizer, who advocates the regular ongoing use of nebulized colloidal silver. 

But do yourself a favor:  Write and ask the advocates of this process to show you a single clinical study on humans demonstrating that regular, long-term use of nebulized colloidal silver causes no harm to the lungs. 

Be sure to ask them to show evidence that nebulizing colloidal silver regularly over long periods of time will not create argyria of the lungs, or harm the cilia of the lungs.  And finally, ask them for proof that colloidal silver inhaled regularly over long periods of time will not pass through the blood-brain barrier and accumulate in the brain. 

They won’t answer you, of course, because they have no such clinical evidence.  They just continue to tout the same, tired old canard that as long as the colloidal silver is “properly made,” there’s no harm whatsoever no matter how of it much you nebulize, or how often. 

But remember, that’s exactly what was said by cavalier colloidal silver advocates about argyria back in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, i.e., “You can’t get argyria as long as your colloidal silver is made correctly.” 

Well, a lot’s been learned since that time.  We now know that ongoing use of even the very highest quality colloidal silver in the world can cause argyria and other toxicity problems if it is used in excess, daily, for long periods of time.

Unfortunately, it has taken nearly two decades -- and a number of unhappy argyria victims -- to come to this realization. 

And yet there are still people on the internet claiming you can drink as much colloidal silver as you want on an ongoing basis and it "can't harm you as long as it's properly made."  Geesh.

My fear is that eventually we're going to find out the same thing about nebulizing colloidal silver regularly, over long periods of time, directly into the tender, soft tissues of the lungs. 

Maybe this fear is an unfounded one. That’s quite possible.  But to date no one has yet satisfactorily allayed it with solid clinical evidence that would prove otherwise.  And I certainly don’t want to be the first colloidal silver user with “blue lung syndrome.”

Animal Studies Demonstrate Problems

The only two clinical safety studies I’m aware of dealing with the inhalation of silver into the lungs were conducted on laboratory rats. 

Both studies used laboratory engineered silver nanoparticles, rather than commercial colloidal silver.  But the idea of what happens to silver when it’s inhaled daily into the lungs for long periods of time is what was looked at.

The first study was a 28 day study which concluded there was no significant long-term harm to laboratory rats that were forced to inhale various levels of silver nanoparticles for varying periods of time on a daily basis for four weeks.  That’s definitely good news.  Very exciting!

The second study, however, was conducted on rats over a period of 13 weeks (i.e., 90 days). It concluded that there were “dose-dependent increases in lesions related to silver nanoparticle exposure, including mixed inflammatory cell infiltrate, chronic alveolar inflammation, and small granulomatous lesions. Target organs for silver nanoparticles were considered to be the lungs and liver in the male and female rats. No observable adverse effect level of 100 μg/m3 is suggested from the experiments.”

In other words, at higher daily doses for longer periods of time there were significant negative results including chronic inflammation of the alveolar, i.e., the delicate air sacs deep within the lungs where oxygen is taken into the bloodstream. 

Also observed by the researchers were increases in inflamed cells, and small nodules, or tiny lumps of inflamed tissue. And silver nanoparticles apparently accumulated in the lungs and liver of the rats.

Interestingly, in this study there were no observable adverse effects at 100 ug/m3, or 100 micrograms of silver per cubic meter of air.  Once again, that’s at least somewhat encouraging news because it indicates that when silver is inhaled daily, there apparently are levels of silver inhalation which -- at least in the rat model -- are relatively safe even when used for weeks on end.  But beyond those levels significant negative results were indeed observed.

The study researchers wrote: 

The results…indicated that lungs and liver were the major target tissues for prolonged silver nanoparticle accumulation.

…Based on the test article–related effects (minimal bile-duct hyperplasia in males and females, chronic alveolar inflammation and macrophage accumulation in the lungs of males and females, and erythrocyte aggregation in females) reported in this study, we found a NOAEL of 100 ug/m3.

…lung function changes previously reported from this study (Sung et al., 2008) indicate significant physiological decreases in tidal volume for all dose levels in males and minute volume decreases for all dose levels in females. The origin of the difference in effects measurements remains to be resolved.

This basically means that over the course of 90 days of inhaling the silver nanoparticles each day, the tiny silver particles accumulated in the lungs and livers of the rats.

What’s more, the tiny air sacs in the lungs known as the alveoli became inflamed, and as a result lung function was significantly reduced.  The reduction in lung function was higher for male rats than it was for female rats in the study.  The researchers don’t know why.

Finally, macrophage accumulation in the lungs of these rats would seem to indicate the body was attempting to remove foreign substances from the lungs, i.e., the accumulated silver. 

A macrophage is a form of phagocyte. And a phagocyte is a cell, such as a white blood cell, that engulfs and attempts to eliminate toxic substances, waste material, harmful microorganisms, or other foreign materials in bodily tissues as well as in the bloodstream.

Remember, these rats were not sick.  They were simply inhaling silver nanoparticles.  So there would have been no reason for the body to send macrophages into the lungs except to remove accumulated silver particles from the lung tissues.
This is similar to what’s observed when people are exposed to inhalation of asbestos on a chronic basis.  The asbestos lodges in the lungs.  And the body sends in macrophages whose job is to attempt to rid the area of the accumulated foreign objects by engulfing them. 

In short, macrophages are the “clean-up crew” of the human body, and they’re only called in when there’s something to clean up.

This demonstrates pretty much beyond any shadow of a doubt that silver particles, when inhaled regularly, over long periods of time, can become embedded in the soft tissues of the lungs and cause a decrease in lung function.

The Great Unknown…

Now let me emphasize these were animal studies, not human studies.  People are not rats (well, most of them, anyway), and therefore you cannot necessarily extrapolate a straight across correlation between what happened to the rats, and what might happen to humans when nebulizing colloidal silver every day for 90 days. 

In humans it could result in no damage to lung function at all…or less damage…or significantly higher damage.  We simply don’t know for sure because human studies have not been conducted.  And really, that’s my entire point; the long-term safety of inhaling silver into the lungs is simply unknown.

Also, it’s important to note that these rats were exposed to what appear to be ungodly levels of silver nanoparticles – up to six hours a day in an inhalation chamber. 

Even the study authors admit the concentrations of silver nanoparticles used in this animal study were “difficult to relate to human exposures.”  That usually means they were excessive

So you can’t take the study as “proof positive” that inhaling silver directly into the lungs each day for 90 days is going to be as harmful in humans as it was in the rats. 

But then, when a person is nebulizing colloidal silver regularly, is there really any way to know how much might be accumulating in the lungs over time?

Again, that’s the problem.  Without human clinical safety testing, there’s no way to know for sure what’s going on when you nebulize colloidal silver regularly.  At what degree is it safe?  And at what degree is it potentially harmful? 

To a reasonable observer, the study should confirm my hypothesis that nebulizing colloidal silver is still a highly experimental procedure with no significant human safety data behind it, and that if undertaken, it should only be done so with much caution, on a limited basis (if at all) until more is known

Contraindicated for Serious Lung Disease

Finally, it’s very important to understand that nebulizing colloidal silver may actually be contraindicated for some people with certain serious lung conditions or diseases, or in late-stage COPD or other conditions.  So always check with your bona-fide licensed medical practitioner before nebulizing colloidal silver, particularly if you have a chronic lung disease of any sorts. 

Nebulizing colloidal silver could actually cause a serious (and perhaps even fatal) decrease in lung function for some people, under certain rare but very possible conditions. 

As an article on points out:

“If an individual is incredibly weak due to a severe lung condition to the point that breathing is laborious, do NOT use a colloidal silver oxygen nebulizer or humidifier without a fully qualified medical staff present...It is possible that the first treatment could arrest the breathing of the individual being treated.”

Finally, warns never to inhale a silver product that may have been combined with proteins, salts or other chemicals as it could lead to silver poisoning.  They don’t give any citations for this claim, but it seems reasonable to take it into consideration.  In some forms, such as silver nitrate and other silver salts, silver can be very caustic to any soft tissues it comes into contact with. 

Please Don’t Shoot Me,
I’m Only the Piano Player…

I know some of the above opinions will leave me on the outs with many colloidal silver advocates who see nebulizing colloidal silver on a regular basis as a safe and highly effective way to get more silver directly into the bloodstream, tissues and organs faster and more effectively than using colloidal silver orally. 

As I’ve already pointed out, some colloidal silver advocates -- such as Dr. Victor Marcial-Vega -- apparently even build the bulk of their upper respiratory treatment program around nebulizing colloidal silver.  (Which is fine, as long as the nebulizing is stopped after the treatment proves to be either successful or unsuccessful.  It is the long-term daily nebulizing of silver that appears to be potentially problematic.)

And as I’ve also pointed out, at least one colloidal silver generator manufacturer has been building his entire program chiefly around nebulizing colloidal silver, even supplying a cheap nebulizer with his generator and telling people the best way to use colloidal silver is to inhale it directly into the lungs. 

I think this is potentially dangerous advice, however, because it encourages people to nebulize colloidal silver as a matter of course, rather than only occasionally, on an "as needed" basis, if at all. 

In my humble opinion, it is bordering on the irresponsible to recommend inhaling colloidal silver into the lungs as a normal, everyday way to use colloidal silver.  Doing so tends to negate the highly experimental nature of the procedure, making it seem “mainstream” when indeed it is clearly potentially dangerous until proven otherwise. 

My Own Nebulizer Usage

For the record, I've personally nebulized colloidal silver for upper respiratory infections, and generally to good effect. So have other friends and family members.  

Indeed, on several occasions over the past 10 years nebulizing colloidal silver has kept my wife -- who suffers on occasion with a swollen and infected voice box -- off the prednisone and antibiotics the doctors like to prescribe. 

But as I’ve emphasized in this article, nebulizing colloidal silver is definitely not something I'd do on a regular ongoing basis.  Through reason and common sense, I recognize it's a highly experimental procedure with very limited clinical testing behind it, and ZERO human clinical safety data. 

Indeed, as I mentioned earlier there have been no human clinical safety studies whatsoever.  And as you’ve seen, the limited animal safety data available indicates there’s at least a potential for silver accumulation in the lungs and perhaps even harm to lung function if silver is inhaled into the lungs on a regular daily basis over a period of months.
And therefore, as an experimental procedure, it’s something I would do only gingerly and with great restraint, and with the clear understanding in mind that should I make the choice to nebulize with colloidal silver, any negative consequences to my body are my personal responsibility.

After all, knowing it’s experimental should help you understand that when you do it, you’re experimenting on yourself. 

Again, I’m very conservative when it comes to nebulizing colloidal silver.  Some would say overly-conservative.  So be it.  I think that’s the prudent course considering the dramatic lack of human safety data available. 

When I nebulize, I use only 5 to 10 ppm colloidal silver made with a Micro-Particle Colloidal Silver Generator from

I nebulize colloidal silver only when I have an upper respiratory infection that feels like it’s about to get out-of-control, or when I feel unusually congested, which is rare.  

But I don't overdo it.  A couple or three minutes at a time, three or four times a day, for a few days in a row, and I'm done. I may not nebulize again for several months or even several years if I don’t have any upper respiratory issues to deal with.

Now that's just me.  I'm not "prescribing" anything here. I'm just reporting what I do.  You have to make your own decisions and take personal responsibility for them. 

Other people nebulize colloidal silver much more frequently than I ever would, and longer per session, and to date I haven't heard of anyone having any negative consequences. But I always like to err on the side of caution with something like this, until I can see some bona-fide clinical research demonstrating human safety. 

If It Ain’t Workin’
Why Keep Doing It?

Finally, I feel it’s important to note that on the very few occasions over the past 10 years that I've nebulized colloidal silver for an upper respiratory condition, it didn’t always work. 

Sometimes nebulizing colloidal silver was very effective. And sometimes it was decidedly ineffective.  But in every single case I’ve been able to tell whether or not it was helping within the very first day

When the procedure proved helpful I experienced rapid remission of the symptoms of upper respiratory infection and was feeling quite well after using the nebulizer for only two or three days, at most.  And when it did not prove helpful right away, continuing the treatment for additional days did not result in any discernible improvement whatsoever. 

This demonstrates to me that when it works, nebulizing colloidal silver is a very effective treatment that does not need to be carried on for weeks or months at a time.  And when it doesn’t work, continuing to nebulize colloidal silver is…well…unnecessary and potentially obsessive

Indeed, if there's no sign of relief in the first few days of nebulizing, I simply recognize it's not helping and I stop using the nebulizer and switch to some other natural health protocol.  Or go see my doctor if necessary. 

Or, if I get some symptomatic relief, but after two or three days of nebulizing it begins to look like the only way I can maintain the symptomatic relief is to keep nebulizing indefinitely on an ongoing basis, then for the sake of safety I quit nebulizing altogether and choose another route, i.e., some other natural health protocol, or even go to the doctor and take the darned antibiotic drugs if I have to. 

Responsible v/s Irresponsible Behavior

I’m simply not willing to risk nebulizing colloidal silver for long periods of time, considering the fact that nobody knows for sure whether or not there's a potentially cumulative negative effect on the lungs from the tiny silver particles. 

For me, the bottom line is that no one really knows if the tiny silver particles being inhaled into the soft tissues of the lungs daily, for long periods of time, can ultimately become embedded in the lungs just like they do in other parts of the body when used to excess.  

So if you’re nebulizing colloidal silver for weeks and months at a time to keep a health condition under control, please consider that you may well be engaging in obsessive and irresponsible behavior. 

Hey, it’s your health and well-being that’s at stake.  So I’m not telling you what to do.  And again, I’m not “prescribing” here, I’m only reporting, and I’m pointing out what I feel is abundantly obvious for those with wisdom, common sense and discretion.

I’ll write more on this topic again in the future, particularly if new studies come out demonstrating the safety (or lack thereof) of nebulizing colloidal silver. 

In the meantime, I remain…

Yours for the safe, sane and responsible use of colloidal silver,

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Important Note and Disclaimer:  The contents of this Ezine have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.  Information conveyed herein is from sources deemed to be accurate and reliable, but no guarantee can be made in regards to the accuracy and reliability thereof.  The author, Steve Barwick, is a natural health journalist with over 30 years of experience writing professionally about natural health topics.  He is not a doctor.  Therefore, nothing stated in this Ezine should be construed as prescriptive in nature, nor is any part of this Ezine meant to be considered a substitute for professional medical advice.  Nothing reported herein is intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.  The author is simply reporting in journalistic fashion what he has learned during the past 17 years of journalistic research into colloidal silver and its usage.  Therefore, the information and data presented should be considered for informational purposes only, and approached with caution.  Readers should verify for themselves, and to their own satisfaction, from other knowledgeable sources such as their doctor, the accuracy and reliability of all reports, ideas, conclusions, comments and opinions stated herein.  All important health care decisions should be made under the guidance and direction of a legitimate, knowledgeable and experienced health care professional.  Readers are solely responsible for their choices.  The author and publisher disclaim responsibility or liability for any loss or hardship that may be incurred as a result of the use or application of any information included in this Ezine.

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