For thousands of years, silver has been known for its antimicrobial activity.
The ancient Romans treated their water with silver coins to maintain its purity. In medicine, silver has played an important role since the 19 century.
While silver metal is historically recognized as being antimicrobial, it is not the pure silver that is active, but the liberated silver ions. The effect of silver ions stems from 3 key mechanisms:
- Binding and damage to the bacteria cell surface.
- Inhibition of respiration by suppressing transport of vital Ca and Zn ion across the cell membrane.
- Binding strongly to electron donor groups on constituent bacterial molecules containing sulphur, oxygen or nitrogen.
Silver ions also slow the processes required for the bacteria to replicate. Additionally, silver binds with components of the bacterial cell wall, the layers of which provide protection and structure to the cell. The ions create structural imperfections within these layers, resulting in the collapse or burst of the bacteria.
Bacteria in animal bedding is activated my moisture. On the other hand, moisture activates the silver ions embedded in CityPets products. The silver ions bind to bacteria proteins, deactivating the odor-causing bacteria.
Regardless, skin exposed to silver and silver particles is not a concern as silver is non-toxic and hypoallergenic.
What happens to ionic silver when ingested?
When an ionic silver solution is ingested, it first enters the stomach where it encounters hydrochloric acid (HCL) that aids in digesting food. The hydrochloric acid provides a vast abundance of chloride ions which have an enormous attraction to the silver ions because they have the opposite ionic charge.
It is virtually impossible to prevent the chloride ions from combining with the silver ions to form the compound silver chloride. Silver chloride is an insoluble salt that does not dissolve inside the body once it has formed. The silver chloride either formed in the bloodstream or absorbed into the bloodstream after forming in the stomach is eliminated by the kidneys and passed out with the urine.