People are constantly asking me “How does colloidal silver actually kill pathogens?” It’s a question clinical researchers have been studying for over 100 years.

The good news is that modern clinical research is finally shedding some light on silver’s many mechanisms of action against infectious microbes.

Silver’s many mechanisms of action against infectious microbes.

And it turns out that the key to silver’s astonishing effectiveness lies in the fact that it attacks pathogens in a multi-pronged manner that leaves them helpless in its presence. Here’s what researchers know, so far…

Researchers have demonstrated that silver ions damage the cell wall of pathogens through the release of nascent oxygen, which inactivates microorganisms through a process called catalytic oxidation.


 silver ions damage the cell wall of pathogens through the release of nascent oxygen- google image 

As stated in the report, “The Development and Functions of Silver in Water Purification and Disease Control,” by Richard L. Davies and Samuel F. Etris of The Silver Institute in Washington, DC:

“Atomic (nascent) oxygen adsorbed onto a bed of silver atoms or ions in solution readily reacts with the sulfhydryl (H) groups surrounding the surface of bacteria or viruses to remove the hydrogen atoms (removed as water) causing the sulfur atoms to form an R-S-S-R bond; respiration is blocked and the bacteria expire.”

As Albert T. McManus, MD, Chief of Microbiology, Institute of Surgical Research, Fort Sam Houston Army Burn Center, Houston, Texas, observes:

“Silver kills bacteria by simple catalytic reduction/oxidation by reacting with any available negative charge…Any organism that is available to the powerful catalytic activity of silver for oxidation is inactivated”.

What this means, put simply, is that silver first attacks the cell wall of the infectious microorganism. Upon contact with the surface membrane of the cell wall of the microbe, silver releases what other researchers have referred to an “oxygen burst” that severely damages the membrane.

This catalytic oxidation results in specific chemical changes to the cell wall of the pathogen that block energy transfer and respiration, preventing the normal life-sustaining chemical processes from continuing, and thus initiating the demise of the pathogen.

A 2011 study titled Control of Microorganisms in Drinking Water Using Ag-Cu/C Catalysts, which was conducted by the Indian Institute of Chemical Technology in conjunction with researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York, draws a similar conclusion:

“Silver in its atomic state, has the capacity to absorb oxygen and act as a catalyst to bring about oxidation.

Because oxygen is more electronegative than sulfur, atomic (nascent) oxygen absorbed onto the surface of silver particles in solution will readily react with hydrogen attached to sulfur in the sulfhydryl (- S- H) groups surrounding the surface of bacteria or viruses.

The removal of hydrogen atoms (as water) causes the sulfur atoms to condense to form R- S -S- R bond. This blocks the respiration and causing the bacteria to expire.”

Silver does even more to destroy pathogens.

According to a study published in the Journal of Biomedical Materials Research in December 2000, titled “A Mechanistic Study of the Antibacteiral Effect of Silver Ions on Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus”:

“To investigate the mechanism of inhibition of silver ions on microorganisms, two strains of bacteria, namely Gram-negative Escherichia coli (E. coli) and Gram-positive Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus), were treated with AgNO3 and studied using combined electron microscopy and X-ray microanalysis.

Similar morphological changes occurred in both E. coli and S. aureus cells after Ag+ [i.e., silver ion] treatment.

The cytoplasm membrane detached from the cell wall.


Silver does even more to destroy pathogens- google image 

A remarkable electron-light region appeared in the center of the cells, which contained condensed deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) molecules.

There were many small electron-dense granules either surrounding the cell wall, or depositing inside the cells.

The existence of elements of silver and sulfur in the electron-dense granules and cytoplasm detected by X-ray microanalysis suggested the antibacterial mechanism of silver:

DNA lost its replication ability and the protein became inactivated after Ag+ treatment.”

In other words, after silver destroys the cell wall of the pathogen through catalytic oxidation, it then enters the cell and binds with the bacteria’s DNA, stopping the bacteria from being able to replicate.

No replication, no spread of the infection.

Harvard educated Dr. Jonathan V. Wright, M.D., of the famous Tahoma Clinic in Washington State, insightfully summarizes and explains how silver kills pathogens in his article, “Stop Supergerms in Their Tracks With One Powerful Silver Bullet”:

“Silver attacks all three of the germ’s vulnerable targets at once.

First, the silver ions easilyrupture a germ’s outer membrane when present in the right amounts, causing the germ’s vital internal components to be exposed in the bloodstream to our white blood cells.

While the white blood cells attack the internal components, the micro-particulate silver continues to destroy these vital internal components by cutting up vital enzymes.

The silver ions then easily attack the germ’s third vulnerable target: its delicate gene pool.

Silver ions have the ability to reach into the nucleus of the germ, where its gene pool is located. Once they combine with the genes, the genes become paralyzed, and the germ cannot replicate itself…”

Dr. Wright goes on to point out:

“In 1909, the Journal of the American Medical Association was the first medical journal to point out that colloidal silver could actually increase our immune cells’ phagocytic index.

In the past few years, more studies have shown that silver ions greatly enhance the essential second part of the phagocytic index – the part where the germ is digested by our immune cells.

This is brought about because silver ions increase the ‘digesting juices’ (what you know as hydrogen peroxide) of these immune cells.”

As Dr. David Weber, an infectious disease expert and the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill further explains, it’s this multi-faceted mechanism of attack against pathogens that makes silver so effective. While the use of an antibiotic drug could be likened to shooting a bullet at pathogens (because of the limited mode of attack), using silver is like dropping a bomb on the pathogens:

“An antibiotic like penicillin works by hitting a bacterium in a limited fashion, at specific sites. Because the killing is done precisely, the bacterium has a good chance of developing a mutation that would confer resistance.

In contrast, silver kills microbes in a broad, unspecific fashion – like tossing a bomb at a bacterium. It hits many essential points such as a bacterium’s entire respiratory system. This makes it much more difficult for silver-resistance to develop.”

In a technical white paper titled “Antimicrobial Activity of Silver,” published by Industrial Microbiological Services Ltd, the authors concur with the idea that silver’s multi-faceted mode of action against pathogens is what truly distinguishes it as a supreme germ-killer:

“Silver ions clearly do not possess a single mode of action. They interact with a wide range of molecular processes within microorganisms resulting in a range of effects from inhibition of growth, loss of infectivity to cell death.

The mechanism depends on both the concentration of silver ions present and the sensitivity of the microbial species to silver.

Contact time, temperature, pH and the presence of free water all impact on both the rate and extent of antimicrobial activity. However, the spectrum of activity is very wide and the development of resistance relatively low…”

In short, the one thing clinical and medical researchers universally agree on about silver is that its medical and therapeutic appeal lies largely in its broad-spectrum mode of action against pathogens.

To use an analogy from nature, if antibiotic drugs represent a wind storm, colloidal silver represents a windstorm, a flood, a lightning strike and a hailstorm all pounding the pathogen at once.

Because silver is completely natural, toxicity to the human body is extremely low compared to antibiotic drugs.


Colloidal Nano Silver 7ppm

As Dr. Kent Holtorf, M.D., of the Holtorf Medical Group points out, “The modern versions of colloidal silver (oligodynamic silver) are shown to have little or no toxicity.”

And as Byron J. Richards, CCN, has pointed out, “The high efficacy in the use of silver to kill bacteria and fungus is not in question by anyone… and the risk to human health in terms of toxicity is negligible. This is a far better risk/benefit profile than commonly used antibiotics.”

And as Dr. Murray J. Height, Ph.D., Chief Technology Officer of the Silver Nanotechnology Working Group has pointed out, “Silver ions are active against a broad range of gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria. Unique qualities of silver ions are: Low risk for bacteria resistance, effective in very low concentrations, no human toxicity.

This is why colloidal silver has become so popular with the public over the last 20 years.

Its infection-fighting qualities can be astonishing. And because it’s completely natural, side effects and toxicity are virtually non-existent as long as it’s not used abusively.

People absolutely love it when they can heal their own infections with a safe, natural substance like colloidal silver, rather than having to use expensive and potentially toxic antibiotic drugs.

Colloidal silver can be easily obtained at


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