Hi, Steve Barwick here, for www.TheSilverEdge.com...
You've probably heard by now that Paul Karason, the so-called "colloidal silver blue man," passed away on Monday, September 23, 2013, at 62 years old, after suffering a heart attack followed by a stroke.
This, according to an article on NBCNews.com's Today Health website.
You'll likely also remember that Karason's rise to television and internet media fame back in 2008 largely took place after his original appearance on the Oprah Winfrey Show, in which he admitted that it was his excessive, long-term usage of colloidal silver that turned his facial skin blue.
What Causes Argyria?
The blue skin-staining from excessive ingestion of silver substances over long periods of time is a condition known as argyria.
The condition typically results after months or years of abusive usage of colloidal silver or related silver products, in which higher levels of silver are ingested on a regular basis than the body's normal channels of elimination can handle.
The excess silver particles gradually get pushed out to the skin by the body in an attempt to eliminate them. That's because the skin is the body's third major organ of elimination after the liver and kidneys.
But once those silver particles reach the skin, they remain trapped there, and become "tarnished" upon exposure to sunlight. This "tarnish" – much like a photographic process – is what stains the skin a gray or bluish color.
While argyria is considered to be extremely rare – 20 or 30 documented cases in the last 20 years, compared to literally millions of responsible colloidal silver users who have suffered no problems whatsoever – it is nevertheless cosmetically unappealing.
Most importantly of all, argyria is usually quite permanent. However, there have been a few cases in recent years in which a form of laser tattoo removal has effectively cleared the skin of some argyria victims if the condition was not severe.
This is why I constantly write about the need to use colloidal silver safely, sanely and responsibly. (See here, for example.)
And it's why I have no trouble lambasting those internet sites that claim you can drink all of the colloidal silver you want without fear of consequences. It's simply not true.
Here's the truth:
While colloidal silver, when used in moderation, has one of the safest toxicological profiles of any nutritional supplement on the face of the earth, the long-term abusive use of colloidal silver will sooner or later bite you in the butt by causing argyria.
And the past five years of Mr. Karason's life have been a public testimony to that fact.
Karason's Medical Problems Not Caused By Silver
Karason's original appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show was followed by repeat appearances on MSNBC's The Today Show.
His story was also featured in literally hundreds of news articles in print publications, as well as in online news sources from around the world.
When some news stories suggested Mr. Karason's health was in grave danger from his excessive usage of colloidal silver, the MSNBC Today Show had Mr. Karason undergo an extensive series of medical tests looking for signs of silver-induced toxicity.
But after examining the results of his medical tests, Karason's doctor had to admit that other than the argyric skin-staining, he could find no additional medical problems that could be attributed to the silver.
Karason's blood work was normal. His kidney and liver function were normal. And there were no signs of toxicity.
In short, the only consequence of his long-term and abusive use of colloidal silver was the argyric skin-staining.
Was Heavy Smoking a Contributing Factor?
According to Karason's widow, he was a very heavy tobacco smoker.
This apparently led to his recent battle with heart disease and ultimately to his premature death, just as it has with so many tens of millions of heavy smokers around the world.
But could his heavy tobacco smoking have also led to his argyric skin-staining? That's an interesting question. Of course, there's no way to know for sure. But consider this:
According to the "Quit Smoking" page on About.com, "Cigarette smoking speeds up the production of free radicals which in turn depletes levels of important antioxidants in the body."
This is vital to understand, because the body's ability to effectively metabolize, process and eliminate silver depends in large part upon the presence of key antioxidant nutrients such as:
So the very same antioxidant nutrients known to be needed by the human body in the metabolism, processing and elimination of silver are regularly depleted from the body by heavy tobacco smoking.
So if smoking depletes these key antioxidant nutrients, it is at least theoretically possible that Mr. Karason's heavy tobacco smoking may well have contributed not only to his heart disease, but also to his body's inability to fully rid itself of the excessive levels of silver he was consuming.
Though I admit there are no clinical studies to back-up my conjecture, it would nevertheless seem prudent that colloidal silver users might also want to take steps to limit activities such as heavy tobacco smoking, since this is known to deplete the body's levels of the key nutrient antioxidants needed to metabolize and process silver.
At the very least, regular colloidal silver users should take heed, and make sure their diet contains plenty of the key antioxidant nutrients known to help the body effectively metabolize silver such as vitamin E, selenium and N-acetyl-cysteine (which helps increase the body's stores of glutathione).
As Dr. Jonathan Wright, M.D., has pointed out regarding colloidal silver and antioxidants in the past:
"Silver belongs to the family of metals that also includes copper and gold (both of which can also have numerous health benefits when they're used properly).
One of the primary concerns people tend to have about using these metals is the risk that they'll accumulate in the body and lead to heavy metal toxicity.
But if you have plenty of antioxidants in your diet, such as selenium, vitamin E, and amino acids like N-acetyl cysteine, you're safe from any harmful effects from this family of metals. Germs, however, are not."
Let a word to the wise be sufficient.
Excessive Colloidal Silver Usage v/s Safe, Sane and Responsible Usage
Over the years I've written extensively about Paul Karason, as well as on the subject of argyria, and on the need to use colloidal silver safely, sanely and responsibly.
The main thing I'll always remember about Paul Karason was his gracious attitude, and the charming humor he displayed when talking about his argyric skin condition.
He openly admitted he was making highly-concentrated solutions of colloidal silver using salt as an accelerant to boost the concentration far above normal levels.
And by his own admission he was drinking between 10 to 20 ounces per day of this highly-concentrated colloidal silver chloride solution. Indeed, he apparently did so daily for over 10 years before his facial skin began to turn blue.
Not only that, but according to televised accounts of his colloidal silver usage, he admits he was also vigorously rubbing this concentrated colloidal silver chloride solution into his facial skin each day, in an attempt to overcome a perceived skin condition.
Of course, a normal oral dosage of colloidal silver is about a teaspoonful, which can be taken up to several times a day when sick. And a normal concentration of colloidal silver is about 10 ppm.
What's more, topical usage of colloidal silver is generally limited to occasional need, such as for relief from cuts, burns, bug bites, and topical fungal and bacterial infections such as athlete's foot, toenail fungus or even MRSA.
So not only was this gentleman's homemade colloidal silver far more concentrated than normal (based on the colloidal silver solution he displayed on national television, I'd estimate it was about 100 ppm or higher – i.e., 10x the normal concentration)…
…but he was also drinking dozens of times the normal daily dosage of colloidal silver (i.e., he was drinking 10-20 ounces a day rather than a few teaspoons full per day).
And then he also rubbed these highly concentrated silver solutions into his facial skin as well, which later turned blue.
The lesson to be learned from Paul Karason's life as the "colloidal silver blue man" is that excessive and abusive usage of colloidal silver does indeed have consequences, just as excessive usage of any natural substance inevitably will.
Our hearts, thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Paul Karason. We do hope the news media will finally let the man have his peace. And we ask the colloidal silver naysayers to at least show him some modicum of respect in his death.
May he always be remembered for his shy, quiet charm, his wit, and his willingness to come clean and publicly admit that he caused his own problem through his long-term abusive usage of colloidal silver.