Colloidal silver is a mineral that is often touted for its medicinal uses despite a lack of evidence that it has any effect on these conditions, notes WebMD. Silver is not an essential supplement, and doctors have not identified any functions that it serves in the body.
In 1999, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ruled that over-the-counter products containing colloidal silver are not safe or effective, and there are no approved over-the-counter oral drugs containing silver as of 2015, states WebMD. People that promote products containing colloidal silver as having medical benefits have misbranded them under the law, though colloidal silver products are still touted as homeopathic remedies and dietary supplements. People who believe in the benefits of colloidal silver take it to treat conditions such as infections, Lyme disease, gonorrhea, syphilis and stomach ulcers.
The use of colloidal silver is likely unsafe whether taken orally, topically or intravenously, as the silver may harm the skin, liver, spleen, kidney or brain, warns WebMD. Use of products containing silver can also lead to permanent bluish skin discoloration and increase melanin production, causing skin discoloration when people are exposed to the sun. Researchers have also linked abnormal development of the face, neck and ears in babies to increased silver levels in their mothers.