Gyms can be some of the most likely places of which you are going to contract an illness. In this article, I would like to explain a natural alternative to common antibacterial products used in gyms and why this would be of benefit to the average user.

Pathogenic bacteria like Salmonella, Staphylococcus, Klebsiella and Micrococcus are some of the most common found in gyms (Mukherjee, et al., 2014), all of which can be responsible for illnesses that result in symptoms such as diarrhoea, vomiting, nausea, and in some cases meningitis and pneumonia. As gyms are often closed in, with limited circulation and often are heated - particularly those used for bikram yoga and a few body building gyms that come to mind in the Sydney area too - can be breeding grounds for these bacteria.

Most if not all gyms will provide antibacterial wipes and sometimes sprays however, there may be issue with using these chemical based antibacterial products. Similar to the problem found in many modern hospitals, where the bacteria have become resistant to medications and antibacterial products.

An example of this may be a study looking into Quaternary Ammonium Compounds and bacterial community dynamics. McBain, Ledder, Moore, Catenich, & Gilbert (2004) found that short term (12 days) exposure to QACs - ingredients common in many detergents and antibacterial formulae - left bacterial communities largely unaffected and in some cases, formulae that were between 10 – 50% in concentration, the bacteria increased in population.

A solution to this may be considering use of natural solutions, such as Colloidal Silver.

The history of Colloidal Silver goes back a long way. When silver mining began approximately 5000 years ago in what is now Turkey, with production stretching through Greece and eventually Spain (The Silver Institute, n.d.), silver became a common form of currency and was common practice to place silver coins in milk to help prevent spoilage. Jumping forward to 335BCE, Alexander the Great is known to have been advised by the philosopher Aristotle to store water in silver vessels and to boil the water before use. All the way back then, while not wholly understood, the antimicrobial properties of silver were noted and used to promote better health. In 750CE silver was used in treatment of inflammation of the eyes in newborns and was advocated as an antiseptic. In the 20th century, silver was clinically used well into the 1940’s and saw a gradual decline as the development and introduction of antibiotics (Silver-Coloids.com, n.d.).

It is with these antibiotics, while in many cases provide health for the greater good and reduce incidence of illness. Acute illness for many is still caused by resistant bacterium. Use of colloidal silver can help prevent spread of bacteria through a different means of disinfection. The intriguing function of the silver ions found in Colloidal silver is described through two methods of action. The first proposed method is that the silver binds to the cell membrane, inhibiting cell respiration. The second proposed method is via structural changes with nucleic acids (Russell & Hugo, 1994).

The use of Colloidal silver in a spray, or in combination with other natural antibacterial ingredients such as Tea Tree and Witch Hazel, can prove to be a useful tool to keep others bacteria and ensuing illness at bay.

References

McBain, A. J., Ledder, R. G., Moore, L. E., Catenich, C. E., & Gilbert, P. (2004). Effects of Quaternary-Ammonium-Based Formulations on Bacterial Community Dynamics and Antimicrobial Susceptibility. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 3449 - 3456.

Mukherjee, N., Dowd, S. E., Wise, A., Kedia, S., Vohra, V., & Banerjee, P. (2014). Diversity of Bacterial Communities of Fitness Center Surfaces in a U.S. Metropolitan Area. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 12544-12561.

Russell, A. D., & Hugo, W. B. (1994). Antimicrobial Activity and Action of Silver. In Progress in Medicinal Chemistry (pp. 351 - 370). Elsevier.

Silver-Coloids.com. (n.d.). A Brief History of The Health Support Uses of Silver. Retrieved from Silver Coloids: http://www.silver-colloids.com/Pubs/history-silver.html

The Silver Institute. (n.d.). Silver in History. Retrieved from The Silver Institute: https://www.silverinstitute.org/site/silver-essentials/silver-in-history/