As we all know, medicine and technology are advancing very rapidly in today’s society. In the world of ailments, diseases, and disorders, new therapies are competing at the forefront to be the next best treatment.
Unfortunately, however, today's typical treatments of viruses include strong antiviral medications that have a whole host of side effects (no pun intended). These side effects include, but are not limited to, nausea, diarrhea, and bronchospasm, which makes it incredibly difficult to breathe.
So what's the solution to this? How can we develop a viral therapy that is both effective and has a very high safety profile?
The Power of Dietary Silver
I’m sure you may have walked into a nutrition or supplement store and saw a silver product sitting on one (or perhaps several) of the shelves. Maybe you’ve never really thought about silver in terms of a health solution, but it certainly has been proven to be!
You may have heard that silver, which in itself i a natural antibiotic, disinfectant, and sanitizer. Science has illustrated to us that colloidal silver has the power to kill bacterial strains known to cause harm to us.
This was seen in cell cultures of the bacteria that are responsible for strep throat.
- Researchers found that when silver that was structurred was applied to the bacteria, its presence was drastically reduced .
The Superiority of this Silver
Now, these all sound like fantastic benefits, wouldn’t you agree? Well, take those benefits and multiply them exponentially! There’s a newer form of silver out there commonly known as structured silver. This new form of silver is the new and improved version of colloidal silver, simply put. Let me explain.
This new silver is a more recently discovered and advanced form of silver than colloidal silver, with a much higher level of what's referred to as bioavailability.
This essentially is how much of something can be absorbed by the body. This is due to the tiny particle size of the silver. The smaller the particles are of something that you're putting into your body, generally the easier it is for your body to rapidly absorb it and put it to use in the body.
The reason that it's easier for your body to absorb something that is of smaller particle size is that this increases its surface area.
Perhaps one of the aspects of this new silver that make it stand out is that you don't have to use nearly as much of it to achieve the same results.
The strength of any silver product is measured in a unit called parts per million (PPM). And the more you take in, the higher risk of overdose and toxicity you're inviting (although rare, it's still something to consider). With this new silver, you consume much less in terms of PPM, so you significantly mitigate this risk.
So What’s the Proof That It Actually Works?
Okay, so this all sounds good, but what does science tell us? Quite a bit! In a 2013 study, structured silver (often referred to as silver nanoparticles in the scientific community) inhibited a particular strain of flu virus known as H3N3.
- Silver’s effectiveness was demonstrated using two different scientific models; one using kidney cells in a petri dish and the other using live mice.
In the kidney cells, the virus's growth was significantly slowed down due to the silver having the power to destroy the viruses' structural machinery.
- Their survival rate in the mice model increased significantly compared to mice that didn't take it .
This was because the silver was able to decrease the amount of virus in the mice's lungs. Pretty remarkable, I'd say!
And it’s not just the flu that it has the potential to work on either. Researchers are excited at the possibilities of this new silver in other types of viruses such as in rhinoviruses, the family of viruses responsible for the common cold.
Although more studies are needed to confirm its effectiveness against the many different kinds of viruses out there, much of the research has shown that the silver nanoparticles' size plays a crucial role in the interaction between the virus and the silver.
- A review of the literature that looked at structured nanoparticles specifically (the silver that hs been structured as opposed to its inferior colloidal silver counterpart) demonstrated that the smaller the size of the silver nanoparticle, the greater the inhibition of the virus .
How Does This All Work Exactly?
Well, the much smaller size of the silver nanoparticles allows it to enter into the host cell (meaning the cell of the organism that the virus went inside of), where it then enters into the viral genome.
From there, it blocks the functions of the virus that allow it to further replicate inside of the host. This prevents further spread of the virus to other parts of the body, stopping the virus dead in its tracks!
Something else that plays a role in the power of silver is something called capping. This allows for a higher rate of interaction between the silver and the virus instead of an uncapped version of the silver.
- One study illustrated that this method of preparation of the silver nanoparticles was effective against three different groups of bacteria (Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa) by reducing its overall microbial activity .
This has been shown to be effective in the treatment of other viruses as well.
In a study involving the HIV virus, the silver nanoparticles' specific spatial arrangement as a result of the capping allowed for the silver to prevent the virus from binding to the host's cells .
- This also occurred in the Herpes virus, as it allowed the silver to attach the virus with a high amount of strength and accuracy .
Although there's still work to be done regarding the science revolving around it all, silver has shown us all incredible promise in the treatment of bacterial infections and viral infections.
Viral infections are exponentially more challenging to come up with treatments for as opposed to their bacterial counterparts. So the fact that silver has stepped up to the plate and hit for the fences is fascinating.
Researchers will only continue to gather more evidence for structured silver that will hopefully become commonplace in today's medical practices.
The cold and flu is very common, many people will get it each year. Why not best protect yourself and possibly prevent you from catching it?
The science behind silver shows it can have many benefits for the immune system.
- Goggin, R., Jardeleza, C., Wormald, P. J., & Vreugde, S. (2014). Colloidal silver: a novel treatment for Staphylococcus aureus biofilms?. International forum of allergy & rhinology, 4(3), 171–175. https://doi.org/10.1002/alr.21259
- Xiang, D., Zheng, Y., Duan, W., Li, X., Yin, J., Shigdar, S., O'Connor, M. L., Marappan, M., Zhao, X., Miao, Y., Xiang, B., & Zheng, C. (2013). Inhibition of A/Human/Hubei/3/2005 (H3N2) influenza virus infection by silver nanoparticles in vitro and in vivo. International journal of nanomedicine, 8, 4103–4113. https://doi.org/10.2147/IJN.S53622
- Khandelwal, N., Kaur, G., Kumar, N., & Tiwari, A. N. (2014). Application of silver nanoparticles in viral inhibition: A new hope for antivirals. Digest Journal of Nanomaterials and Biostructures, 9(1), 175-186.
- Bryaskova, R., Pencheva, D., Nikolov, S., & Kantardjiev, T. (2011). Synthesis and comparative study on the antimicrobial activity of hybrid materials based on silver nanoparticles (AgNps) stabilized by polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP). Journal of chemical biology, 4(4), 185–191. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12154-011-0063-9
- Elechiguerra, J. L., Burt, J. L., Morones, J. R., Camacho-Bragado, A., Gao, X., Lara, H. H., & Yacaman, M. J. (2005). Interaction of silver nanoparticles with HIV-1. Journal of nanobiotechnology, 3, 6. https://doi.org/10.1186/1477-3155-3-6
- Baram-Pinto, D., Shukla, S., Gedanken, A., & Sarid, R. (2010). Inhibition of HSV-1 attachment, entry, and cell-to-cell spread by functionalized multivalent gold nanoparticles. Small (Weinheim an der Bergstrasse, Germany), 6(9), 1044–1050. https://doi.org/10.1002/smll.200902384