Long Covid: Dr Chris gives advice on supplements to fight fatigue

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It is important to have a diet rich in minerals but not all minerals should be in your diet.

One mineral that is marketed as a dietary supplement is colloidal silver.

Silver nanoparticles have seen use as disinfectant agents since the late 1800s, and this is sometimes represented as silver having health benefits when eaten.

Pharmacist Abbas Kanani from Chemist Click describes briefly the history of silver’s medical uses.

He said: “Silver nanoparticles have been used many years ago to treat infections, before the discovery of antibiotics.

“It is thought that silver nanoparticles have antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties.

“Whilst the mechanism of action is unknown, it is thought that they interfere with the structure of bacteria, viruses and fungus, inhibiting their effects to multiply and spread.”

Kanani warns against consuming silver supplements, warning that the effects can be permanent.

“Whilst we are exposed to small amounts of silver, the health implications of ingesting it are not fully understood, and thought to be a risk to one’s health.

“Argyria is an acquired condition caused by the ingestion of silver. It can cause your skin, eyes, internal organs, nails and other parts of your body to turn grey.

“The change in skin tone is most likely to be permanent.”

Kanani explains that no credible research has been done on consumption of silver because there is no reason to believe it can help people, and the damage it can do is already proven.

Controlled testing environments have failed to produce positive effects of silver supplements on cancer or HIV, two conditions it has been claimed to treat on the internet.

In addition to turning your skin, eyes and internal organs blue-grey it can also cause kidney damage when your body tries to remove it.

In some countries regulatory bodies have attempted to step in to stop the sales of these dangerous supplements.

The American Food and Drugs Administration sent out warnings to multiple companies selling silver supplements as a fraudulent coronavirus treatment.

Court injunctions were used to halt the sales in one case.

There are legitimate applications of silver in medicine and none of them are edible or injectable.

The antimicrobial effects of silver can be useful for cleaning wounds, and are sometimes incorporated into the dressing.

The British National Formulary, a reference document used by the NHS says: “Silver-impregnated dressings should not be used routinely for the management of uncomplicated ulcers.

“It is recommended that these dressings should not be used on acute wounds as there is some evidence to suggest they delay wound healing.”

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