Does Colloidal Silver Turn You Blue?

Does Colloidal Silver Turn You Blue

By Art Solbrig

March 21, 2018
Updated March 23, 9:47 a.m. PST

The following is my understanding of what can turn you blue followed by an article discussing the science on the subject of argyria as it relates to silver. 

When colloidal silver is made properly, one step of the process is to make ionic silver first and then to reduce the ionic silver into colloidal silver. Silver ions are much smaller than silver nanoparticles. In fact, they are so small that they can readily enter into cells of the body. Silver nanoparticles are too large to enter into cells of the body. Another important production step that ionic silver makers rarely use or consider is that high quality colloidal silver nanoparticles should be capped in order to withstand the stomach acid and sodium chloride without being converted into some other form of silver such as silver chloride. The capping agent not only protects the silver particles from being altered, it also increases the zeta potential of the particles which keeps them from aggregating to form larger particles that eventually grow to such a large size that they fallout of suspension. The capping agent does not improve the zeta potential, but has a very similar effect by keeping the silver nanoparticles from touching each other so they cannot easily agglomerate but still protect the particles from the stomach acid and other content.

Colloidal silver is silver particles suspended in distilled water. The capping process is very important and when you read studies of colloidal silver nanoparticles, you will readily notice that capping is almost always used to improve zeta potential, protect the silver particles from being altered into something else and lastly to improve shelf life. What you make with your computer controlled silver generator is a very high quality colloidal silver nanoparticle that is "capped".......very similar to what is typically used in silver studies of today.

Many people who go online and find out how to make ionic silver by using batteries, alligator clips, distilled water, silver rods and a mason jar are often times, but not always, getting improper advice that is not science backed. People who use this method are usually making ionic silver at best and they use what they have made with the mistaken impression that it is colloidal silver, but it isn't. It can be effective as studies show, but not the best way to go.

In order to make colloidal silver nanoparticles requires more steps. You have to use an electrolyte to start your batch, you shouldn't use batteries unless you also have a circuit attached to reliably control the current or you should use a power supply that has an effective form of current control in order to know how many parts per million your batch will be, and you have to use a reducing agent to convert the ionic silver to colloidal silver. Lastly, a capping agent is needed for high parts per million colloidal silver, but is optional for 20 ppm colloidal silver.

The majority of manufacturers who sell their products as colloidal silver are actually selling ionic silver and counting on the fact that most people do not understand the difference. Considering how much of this ionic silver is sold by health food stores and the myriad of online sellers, you would expect to see people walking around with this bluish gray coloring, but you don't. Have you ever seen a blue person in your lifetime, other than a member of the Blue Man group?

You may wonder why these retail manufacturers don't just make real colloidal silver nanoparticles in the first place. The answer is very simple: it is much cheaper to make ionic silver than colloidal silver nanoparticles. The give-away with these ionic silver products is that they are almost always sold in blue or brown glass or plastic bottles because as mentioned earlier, they are reactive to UV light.

Out of all the manufacturers selling silver to the public, only a few are actually selling colloidal silver nanoparticles. The clue with these ones is that they will not be in a blue or brown bottle, they will be in clear bottles, and they will have a color to them that can range from yellow to dark brown and they should look crystal clear. The ionic products are clear and colorless like water.

Since colloidal silver nanoparticles are much larger than ionic silver, they are too large to enter cells the way that ionic silver can. When the ionic silver enters cells of the body, they can bind to certain substances like selenium or sulfur that is already in the cell and once that happens, the resulting particle (silver selenide or silver sulfide) is then too large to be able to leave the cell and is irreversibly  trapped in the cell. If the cell happens to be close to the skin surface, it can photo-react with uv rays from the sun as well as lighting in the house including incandescent, fluorescent, xenon and halogen bulbs. Not so much with LED lighting. This results in a bluish gray  appearance to the skin. This process is similar to when you develop old style Polaroid pictures.

In any case, it would take a very long period of daily use of ionic silver to see this effect which is called Argyria.

Real colloidal silver on the other hand, being a much larger particle, is much less likely to cause argyria. The other downside to ionic silver is that it is approximately 25 times more toxic to normal human cells. So if you are going to use silver, you would want to use colloidal silver nanoparticles and not ionic silver.

Here is an article that discusses this:

https://www.chemistryworld.com/news/chemistry-behind-the-blue-man-unlocked-/5591.article

In the article, the term Ag+ is referring to ionic silver. In this article, you can see how they used uncapped silver nanoparticles (AgNp's) and these were disturbed by exposure to stomach acid, and that is the exact reason why capping is needed to make a high quality silver nanoparticle.

The capping agent allows the AgNp's to make it through the stomach to the intestines where the capping agent is broken down by enzymes present there, allowing the AgNp's to then make it to the blood stream where they can go about their business of interacting with pathogens of multiple types.

This article does not discuss capping the AgNp's, but what this article describes is exactly the reason why capping is preferred in order to make high quality silver nanoparticles and the hundreds of available studies using capping for this very reason is the confirmation of why capping is needed.

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