What is Colloidal Silver

What is Colloidal Silver?

In this section we will cover first what is a colloid, how and where they occur, and then move onto colloidal silver specifically.  Understanding some of the basic science behind colloids will help you understand how colloidal silver works to benefit your health.

What is a Colloid?

Well, a colloid is simply a solution where particles are naturally suspended and evenly distributed throughout.

The Oxford Dictionary of English defines a colloid as “a homogenous non-crystalline substance consisting of large molecules or ultramicroscopic particles of one substance dispersed through a second substance. Colloids include gels, sols, and emulsions; the particles do not settle, and cannot be separated out by ordinary filtering or centrifuging like those in a suspension.”

Colloidal silver is a colloid solution where the particles are particles of silver.  You can have colloid solutions of nearly every type.  Another common mineral colloidal solution is gold.

Andrew Ede, in his book on the history of colloidal science, declares, “Colloids are often boundary material. They are at the limit of microscopic observation, or the boundary between the microscopic and atomic words. They make up the constituent part of cell walls, or the boundary between the interior and exterior of the cell.”[1]

Colloids are all around us and they often occur naturally. Many of the products we use on a daily basis are colloids, as are some of the fluids in our bodies. There is nothing unnatural about colloids.

At the most basic, a colloid occurs when particles stay evenly distributed, and naturally suspended in a solution.

When/Where do Colloids Occur?

A fair number of colloids occur naturally. Ede lists paint, glue and soap as a few examples of manufactured colloids.[2] Another example is dairy products, including homogenized milk and butter.  The fat particles in milk and butter naturally stay suspended throughout the entire solution. If they didn’t, you would see a distinct difference between the fat layer and the liquid layer, kind of like what you get when you mix water and oil.

It is also quite easy to make your own colloidal solution. While in the early 20th century, scientists were experimenting with many different ways to produce colloidal solutions, today it is very easy to make a high quality solution with basic supplies you might already have in your own home.

Colloidal silver generators are perfect examples of how easy it is to make a colloidal solution. The most basic generators are simply batteries hooked up to silver rods that are stuck in water. Due to the electricity (typically a low voltage micro-current) passing through the silver rods, minute particles naturally detach from the silver rods with a positive charge. These particles, suspended due to a positive electrical charge, stayed in suspension thus being a colloid solution. This process is called the electro-colloidal process.

Obviously different generators produce different qualities of colloidal solution but, as you can see, colloids occur naturally around us all the time, and it is also very easy to make your own colloidal solution.

How do Silver Colloids Occur

Colloidal silver must be manually produced. It is done electrically most of the time. When pure silver rods are inserted into a container of pure steam distilled water, and an electrical charge is run through the rods, minute silver particles naturally come off the rod. Because of the electrical charge, the silver particles are actually silver ions – particles that have lost an electron and thus have an electric charge (either positive or negative). Ionic colloidal silver is positively charged.

The positive charge of the silver ions means that each individual ion is repelled by every other positive ion. This natural repulsion causes silver particles in colloidal silver solution to disperse evenly and stay in suspension.

Steve Barwick explains, “The charged silver particles interact with each other and create a synergistic effect as they are suspended in the water with their electrical charge.  … They have a positive charge and repel each other, which is how they stay suspended and evenly distributed in the water.” [3]

It is important to note, however, that because the charge applied to create silver ions is artificial, the charge cannot be held indefinitely. This means that you cannot expect your colloid silver to have an infinite shelf life.[4] Most producers recommend consuming colloidal silver within six months of its production.

Particle Size

The particles in a colloid solution are microscopic, ranging from 1 nanometre (nm) to 1 micrometre (um) in size.[5]

Depending on which source you trust, silver particles produced by most colloidal silver generators will range in size from as big as 10 microns to as small as 0.008 microns. To compare, a red blood cell is about 7.5 microns in size.[6]

According to Mark Metcalf, due to the laws of physics, the smallest any colloid particle can be (produced by the electro-colloidal method) is 0.001 microns[7].

The microscopic size of colloid particles means that they are small enough to pass through membranes and thus be easily absorbed.

If you were to ingest a colloidal solution, the particles can pass through your digestive system without actually being digested and are consequently absorbed (and used to maximum efficiency) by your body.  The smaller the particle, the easier it is absorbed.[8]

When looking to buy colloidal silver solutions or generators, you should always strive for the smallest particle size possible. While you cannot test the size of the particles without a lab, there are ways to distinguish which generators produce higher quality colloidal silver but we’ll get into that later.

Why Colloids?

So… after learning all about the benefits of silver, you might ask the question why colloid silver? Why does it work better than other silver products that are currently on the market, some of which are even government approved and used in hospitals.

The simple answer is because of size. Because the particles of silver in colloidal solutions are so tiny, as you know, they can easy pass through membranes and be absorbed and used by the body. It is the easiest and most effective way of using silver to help improve your health.

And if you make your own colloidal silver, it’s also one of the cheapest ways too!

How to Determine if a Solution is Colloidal

Sometimes you’ll have a colloidal solution that simply looks like water. If you can’t tell what you’re drinking by colour or taste, how can you be sure that you’re not just spending a lot of money to drink something that might as well just come out of a kitchen tap?

High quality, low (3-5) ppm (parts per million) colloidal silver should be crystal clear.[9] Often higher (10+) ppm solutions will be slightly yellow and taste metallic.

But if you’re buying or making a low ppm solution, how do you test that what’s in front of you truly is colloidal silver without doing expensive lab testing?

Well, by shining something like a laser pointer through a beaker of colloidal silver solution, even though the particles are invisible to the naked eye, if it is a true colloid solution you will be able to see a clear line (or cone shape) through the solution.

The path of light that you see is known as the Tyndall Effect. Although microscopic in size, the particles in the colloid solution are still large enough to cause the light to scatter and reflect off other particles. The Tyndall Effect can be observed in colloidal solutions as weak as 0.1 ppm.[10] In comparison, when you shine a beam through pure water, the Tyndall Effect is not observed.

The Tyndall Effect is the visible path of light through a solution. It is named after John Tyndall (1820-93), who discovered it.


So, to summarize, a colloid is simply a particle that is naturally suspended and dispersed throughout a solution.

Many colloidal solutions occur naturally, like dairy products.

Colloidal silver is commonly and easily made using the electro-colloidal process.

Colloidal silver particles range from 0.008 – 10 microns. The smaller a colloidal particle, the better it is for absorption.

To test if your solution is indeed colloidal, shine a laser through it and watch for the Tyndall effect.


This information has not been evaluated by any official agency. The content of this website is intended for information only and is not intended to be used as medical advice. For medical advice, please consult a medical professional.

We are not doctors and are not prescribing colloidal silver to you for any use. Please consult a medical professional before consuming colloidal silver, or to find out what dose or ppm solution is right for you.

The author and publisher of this information disclaims responsibility or liability for any hardship or loss that may be incurred as a result of the use or application of this information.

Information that is referenced is believed to be from reliable sources, but no guarantee can be made regarding the accuracy of sources.


Baranowski, Zane. Colloidal Silver: The Natural Antibiotic Alternative.  Healing Wisdom Publications, 1995.

Barwick, Steve.  The Ultimate Colloidal Silver Manual: Introducing the Powerful Natural Antibiotic They Want to Take Away from You. Life and Health Research Group, 2009.

“Colloids.” Oxford Dictionary of English. Oxford University Press, 2010

Ede, Andrew. The Rise and Fall of Colloid Science in North America, 1900-1935: The Neglected Dimension. Ashgate, 2007.

Metcalf, Mark. Colloidal Silver: Making the Safest and Most Powerful Medicine on Earth for the Price of Water. 4th edition. Silver Protects, 2001.

Peterson, Marc. Alternative Colloidal Production Health Guide. 2009.

[1] Ede 17

[2] Ede 8

[3] Barwick 87

[4] Barwick 335

[5] Baranowski 1

[6] Baranowski 2

[7] Metcalfe 11.

[8] Peterson 42

[9] Peterson 39

[10] Peterson 83


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