The Past and the Future is Antimicrobial Silver
Antimicrobial silver has long been praised for its healing properties and has been used medically for thousands of years. However, silver as medicine has been forgotten in Western medicine until recently.
Why is this important? According to the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, as many as 1.2 million U.S. hospital patients may be infected each year with a virulent staph infection that’s resistant to antibiotics — a rate almost 10 times greater than previous estimates.
We’re commonly taught that antibiotics are the key to fighting bacterial infections, but it turns out that recent studies strongly support the ‘old-fashioned’ view that silver has significant antimicrobial properties. Here’s what you need to know about the most exciting new research on antimicrobial silver.
Staphylococcus, Staph Infections, and Silver
There are 40 or more species of staphylococcus bacteria, and their penetrative and toxic capabilities can lead to a huge range of infections in humans (often called simply ‘staph infections’). Some of the most common staph infections include boils and skin abscesses, which may be minor or serious.
While antibiotics are the standard treatment for staph infections, some recent types of Staph have become resistance to antibiotics. A team of scientists have published a study showing that antimicrobial silver seems to both prevent and treat topical staph infections. In particular, silver caused the cell membranes of staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteria to lose integrity by damaging them. When they published their findings, the scientists behind the study suggested that silver compounds are a potential and credible option for fighting topical staphylococcal infections.
Even when exposure to silver was prolonged, the researchers did not find that the bacteria became resistant to the treatment. In fact, they proposed that silver-based therapies may be preferable to antibiotics when treating such superficial infections. This conclusion lends further support to claims made in the 2011 Wounds International support, which found that antimicrobial silver carries a lower risk of bacterial resistance. Since over-prescribed antibiotic drugs are quickly becoming less effective due to the evolution of bacteria, this news about antimicrobial silver suggests we should be focusing more research on the potential worth of silver-based interventions.
Our favorite topical silver ointment is a non-toxic, safe, and effective alternative to Neosporin and other triple antibiotic ointments. It has proven itself against UTI, cold sores, rashes, countless topical infections and even scorpio stings. The newest and most sophisticated entrant is Silver Surfer, a 4,000 PPM chelated silver concentrate, a patented formulation that due to protein binding mechanism has 100-200 higher bioavailability than any regular colloidal silver product in the market, and is small enough to carry anywhere. You can use it internally or mix a drop or two with for example aloe vera, and create the most potent antimicrobial ointment on the market in a snap.
Antimicrobial Silver and Infection
Liquid silver or silver-based cremes and lotions could be applied straight to the skin in order to treat Staphylococcus infections. Silver-based dressings that incorporate nanoparticles can also be extremely effective. A review of different studies on silver-based dressings found that they reduce pain and promote healing more effectively than other dressings. For example, one 2008 study found that silver-enhanced wound dressings killed not just Staphyloccus auerus over 99.99% of the time, but also killed Pseudomonas aeruginosa cultures. In mice, mortality from Pseudomonas aeruginosa wound infections was reduced from 90% to 14.3%.
It’s worth nothing that antimicrobial silver dressings and topical creams can also be used to prevent such infections from thriving in cuts or wounds, so they can be an effective preventative measure as well as a cut.
The Future of Antimicrobial Silver Research
Given the increasingly urgent and deadly issue presented by the worldwide growing resistance to antibiotics, it is clear that we need to explore new avenues for antimicrobial therapy. One potentially promising area of future research combines silver solutions with additional antimicrobial treatments (such as UV light or oxidizers). It is thought that these further treatments help silver ions enter the cytoplasm of bacterial cells and allow the ions to do quicker, more devastating damage. Such research may reveal powerful new ways for silver to take the place of antibiotics in the treatment of certain infections.
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