Does Colloidal Silver Turn You Blue?

| Modified on Feb 02, 2024
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:

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.


Posted by Art (California) on 10/01/2019 2173 posts

True colloidal silver has not been shown in studies to turn anyone blue. Ionic silver can potentially cause argyria, but it would take very high dosing for a very long time of everyday use which there is no reason for.

Colloidal silver is a broad spectrum antibacterial and antiviral with modest antifungal qualities. It also has anti-inflammatory qualities, but that aspect of CS is not as well studied. Other forms of silver such as silver chloride may have more potential to cause argyria, but not a ton of research on that aspect.


Argyria Remedies

Posted by Sheena (kansas city, mo.) on 01/13/2024

Hi, I was wondering if anyone on here has found any kind of lightening cure for Argyria. I would appreciate any help that you might know of...Thanks so much...

Replied by Art
2173 posts

Hi Sheena,

My understanding of the process of argyria suggests that it is irreversible. The process involves silver ions freely entering cells because of their very small particle size, but once inside the cell it can bind with other cell components and once the silver ion binds to another cell component, it becomes too large to be able to freely exit the cell and if the cell is near the surface of the skin, it is photoreactive and takes on a blue to gray color.

It is thought to happen when a person is exposed to very large amounts of ionic silver for an extended period of time, among other ways, such as via certain occupational exposures or medications.


Replied by Lisa
(Jax, FL)

Hi Sheena,

I always read it was irreversible also, but did read something about lasers a few years back. Here are two references I found. You would need to sign in or subscribe to read, but I believe there are even more out there. Hopeful! Sorry for the cut and paste.

1. Gottesman SP, Goldberg GN. Immediate Successful Treatment of Argyria With a Single Pass of Multiple Q-Switched Laser Wavelengths. JAMA Dermatol. 2013;149(5):623–624. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2013.234 (sorry, couldn't get a link; have to sign in).

2. 1064 nm Q-switched Nd:YAG laser for the treatment of Argyria: a systematic review

R.D. Griffith, B.J. Simmons, F.N. Bray, L.A. Falto-Aizpurua, M.-A. Yazdani Abyaneh, K. Nouri
First published: 06 April 2015

Best Capping Agent

Posted by Daryl (Arkansas) on 01/14/2019

Art, what capping agent should be used and at what point in the process?


Daryl, I use gelatin to cap, but mostly only for higher parts per million batches like 320 ppm. I make a 250 ml beaker at a time and I add 1/4 teaspoon of gelatin before I begin my run.

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Posted by Pacific Coast Lady (Crescent City, CA) on 12/15/2021

hello Art, I've enjoyed your article on Colloidal Silver, but one paragraph kind of confused me although I think I have it figured out right now. I wanted to add it in as an image in case you think it could be worded a bit differently.

But Mainly, I'm writing because I wanted to know if the picture of the Earth Clinic Colloidal Silver is the silver that you are talking about? Possibly your recipe? I am seriously considering purchasing a bottle, Denise

Replied by Art
2173 posts


Yes, I could have worded that better! Part of the confusion is because the folks at EC decided to sell their Colloidal Silver Nanoparticles (AgNPs) in an amber glass bottle as many people are not comfortable with plastic bottles due to leaching issues. Apparently, EC chose to use amber glass as an added protective step to help insure the best quality of their product over the long term. If you look at MesoSilver's AgNP product, it is in a clear plastic bottle. EC could have done the same, but I think Deirdre is trying to supply the highest possible quality that she can to EC members.

So to answer your question, yes, the product that EC is selling is the same AgNPs that I make and use, not ionic silver. I have made yellow 20ppm AgNPs, the same as EC sells and left it sitting on the shelf for years with no agglomeration, no loss of color, no sediment or clouding over a period of about 3 years, as a test of the stability of the product. It stayed yellow in color and and remained crystal clear!

When I make higher ppm concentrations over 80 ppm up to 320 ppm, it is almost impossible to tell the clarity because it gets too dark, like black coffee, but that is the norm with higher ppm concentrations. When I get to the bottom of a bottle of 320 ppm, there is never any sediment and I do not filter my 320 ppm batches. That is one sign of a very stable batch of high ppm, especially if it has been sitting for a year or more on a shelf.

When you dilute the 320 ppm back to 20 ppm, you can see the clarity of the batch and the color comes back into the yellowish range, but closer to light amber because 320 ppm requires a different capping agent to prevent agglomeration when the ppm concentration goes above 40 to 50 ppm. This capping agent causes the slightly darker amber color.


Replied by Casey
(Columbus, OH)

I have recently been doing a lot of research about Colloidal Silver. I have read many articles from Terry Chamberlin with The Natural Health Library and I was wondering if you have ever read any of his articles? If you have what do you think of them? He has many articles that have studies and research that back them. I am open to seeing all sides as I just want to understand it all but the information in the article written here will Colloidal silver turn you blue is very conflicting from his information. I'm so new to this, any help is appreciated. Thanks in advance for helping me understand.

2173 posts

Hi Casey,

Since you asked, I went and read excerpts from an article written by him here :

Here is a quote from his article :

' The properties of dissolved nanosilver are completely different than suspended colloidal silver. Nanosilver is unaffected by sunlight, magnetic fields or freezing. '

This statement is incorrect because nanosilver is the same as silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) and when you freeze AgNPs and then thaw it, the silver will aggregate and the product will no longer be viable. Here is a discussion on that topic from a company that manufactures AgNPs : silver nanoparticles at 2, silver nanoparticles will irreversibly aggregate.

Here is a relevant article quote :

' Do NOT freeze. If frozen, the silver nanoparticles will irreversibly aggregate. '

He also uses the term "nanosilver" and the term "colloidal silver" to mean two different things, but they are essentially the same with the exception that colloidal silver can exceed 100 nm in particle size whereas silver nanoparticles should not exceed 100 nm.

He would not be someone that I myself would feel confident in regarding information on AgNPs.

There is a lot of different and conflicting information on the web regarding AgNPs, so it is not easy to determine what is fact or fiction when it comes to colloidal silver. I try to refer to silver nanoparticle studies when I am looking for answers regarding AgNPs.


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Posted by Freda (British Columbia ) on 01/07/2019

I have heard from numerous people how Colliodal silver has benefited them. There are also many people denying that Colloidal silver does not turn you blue.

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Posted by Jenn M. (Cobborra, Australia) on 02/23/2019

I learnt about C.S from observing migrant women in their 80's, 90's and a couple a tad older who made their silver with a very simple pack of 2x 9volt batteries in a mining town in outback Australia. Often with no fridge just a generator, and doing it tough in temps and living conditions most people would balk at, they made their silver, strained it and drank a couple of tablespoons daily. Also used it for their animals and all cuts and grazes, and spider bites.

Mind you, many of these women were still working an 8-10 hr day working underground in mines. Attributed no doubt to their daily use of silver. As for Agryia, a full article (including photos of The Blue Man) are available on WebMed the medical site that many health practitioners use, and especially when you tell them that you use it.. It's like the Holy Grail of CS.

My new specialist was horrified when I told him I sprayed it on my ulcers, which ultimately improved out of sight, I might add, but he printed off the article from WebMed just to show me it causes blue skin. We know that it is utter rot because you'd have to be consuming a lot of large doses daily. And generally unfiltered. Today we are more sophisticated! We filter everything, sometimes twice depending on it's use and I have never had a bad reaction to anything I have applied it too. Only good stuff.

My second specialist is a really old guy who was delighted when I told him I was using CS as an antibacterial spray. He told me that in the days when penicillin was only new, Dr's still used CS for antibacterial use, along with Potassium permanganate for washing....( as much crystals as would fit on the edge of a matchstick) so I too use both with excellent results. One thing tho, CC stains permanently on material and can leave your fingers and your containers with brown stains that will eventually fade.

This has gone a bit off track but is all true and excellent stuff!

Replied by Greg
(West Bengal)

I met someone who was visiting from Australia. As soon as I saw him I thought 'Argyria'. I asked him. He told me that for several years he had been making a really primitive silver water using batteries. And that he used to drink a half liter or so a day. That's how he ended up with his peculiar skin tone that looked like a blue suntan. But apart from the color he was as healthy as can be. I was quite shocked to have actually met a real live argyria case!