The Elementology of Mental Health (A to Z)     ©  2012


In 2005, I co-authored an updated English version of the book Minerals in Health and Disease (written originally in German) with Dr Klaus-Georg Wenzel MD, a neurologist and psychiatrist. It is an excellent desktop reference and copies of the book are available via the International Schizophrenia Foundation

Here in a chapter by chapter sequence, The Elementology of Mental Health (A to Z) will unfold with a similar format but with different content than Minerals in Health and Disease. Here you will see a compilation of clinical perspectives with specific attention to the elemental components, that is, the mineral and metal factors, pertinent to mental health. The focus is on the clinical treatment of schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, bipolar, ADD and OCD.  This look into the world of clinical ‘elementology’ describes the toxic and beneficial influence of elements on mental and physical health.  It describes associated symptoms and biochemical imbalances common to the physical body and the human mind. Environmental exposures are a key part of the discussion.      

Dr Ray Pataracchia ND BSc

Clinic Director

The Naturopathic Medical Research Clinic


Silver (Argentum – Ag)


Not known 

Therapeutic application:

Topical astringent, improves wound granulation, anti-bacterial, disinfectant

Negative biological effect:

Silver can compromise inner organs and cause ”rheumatic” joint symptoms; in patients with a multiple heavy metal load it deters the initial progress of heavy metal removal.


Eye drops that contain silver, dental amalgams (also contain tin and mercury), photography paper (silver –bromide, -iodide, and -nitrate), electrical products (silver is the most conductive metal), silver bearing production, silver- and gold-smith work (in nature, silver is often found with gold), and the handling of silverware, jewelry, decorative items, and sterling silver (often alloyed with copper; at one time used to make coins in the US). Silver is used in x-ray fixer solutions found in dental offices; the silver in such fixer solutions is reclaimed by chemical processing.

Silver in our body:

External skin contact can cause irritation and allergic dermatitis. Continual external exposure to silver can lead to skin and body tissues deposition. Silver can pigment the skin blue or black (argyria). Argyria is thought to be a relatively benign but permanent cosmetic skin condition.

Sliver that is carried into systemic circulation can damage organs and cause ‘rheumatic’ symptoms in the joints, ligaments, muscles and spine. Silver toxicity is also associated with anxiety, rapid exhaustion, headaches, memory loss, and nausea. In humans, silver over-exposure can cause heart problems and permanent nervous system and brain damage. Silver vapor exposure can irritate the respiratory tract, cause breathing problems, headaches and dizziness. In extreme cases vapors can cause confusion, staggering, drowsiness, unconsciousness, and coma/death. In lab animals, silver over-exposure can cause organ damage (brain, kidney, liver, eye, lung) and anemia.  

Copper and zinc are antagonistic to silver. In treating mental health conditions, both of these elements are of pivotal importance. Copper is used in catecholamine production and the executive functions of the frontal cortex including planning and thought processing. Zinc is involved in protein and neurotransmitter manufacture.

Silver in general is not too difficult of a heavy metal to remove. Removal requires optimal zinc dosing and thyroid support when indicated. Adequate concentrations of copper should be supplemented while dosing zinc as this will also help reduce the silver load.  

Silver in low concentration is an astringent and bactericidal. Its lunar caustic formation is corrosive. Silver drops are used to prevent gonococcal conjunctivitis, an eyeball/eyelid infection that can cause blindness in newborns.

Silver in our environmental:

This precious metal can be found naturally in mineral-rich areas of Canada, Mexico, Germany, Norway, Bolivia, and Honduras, in soil, plants, and mines and, by isolating it (indirectly as a byproduct) while refining other metals. Globally, in 1977, industrial waste accounted for the release of 2500 tonnes of silver to our environment. The environmental exposure of silver by industrial waste release is currently not considered a public risk.

For an in-depth look at toxicity, exposures, and environmental waste aspects associated with silver, I will refer you to the book Nano and Biocidal Silver: Extreme Germ Killers Present a Growing Threat to Public Health.