Recently, MSNBC conducted a very interesting follow-up broadcast with Paul Karason, the so-called “Colloidal Silver Blue Man.”

Paul is the man whose skin turned blue after he ingested incredibly excessive amounts of colloidal silver daily, for over a decade.

Once again, Matt Lauer, the MSNBC TV host of The Today Show, interviewed Karason. And overall, he treated Karason with respect and dignity.

More importantly, Lauer got the story right.

He carefully noted that Karason’s doctors had given him a clean bill of health, and accurately stated that none of the rigorous medical tests Mr. Karason had undertaken could find any harm to his internal organs or nervous system from the excessive levels of colloidal silver he’d been ingesting daily for over a decade.

Mike Celizic Blows It

Unfortunately, afterward, MSNBC news journalist Mike Celizic really blew it when he published a news article based upon Matt Lauer’s interview with the colloidal silver “blue man.”

If his article is any indication of his journalistic prowess, Mike may have to go back to journalism class and take a refresher course in fact-checking, and also in errors of omission, before continuing to write for MSNBC News.

Here’s a brief excerpt from Celizic’s article:

"Colloidal silver is a suspension of silver in a liquid base — in this case, distilled water. Silver has antibacterial properties and has been used to fight infection for thousands of years. But it went out of use when penicillin, which is far more effective, was developed.

It continued to be used in some over-the-counter medicines until 1999, when the FDA banned it because it causes argyria, which is a result of the silver reacting with light the same way it does in photography. The silver collects in the skin and other organs and does not dissipate. Karason is blue for life."

What’s wrong with the above statements?

First of all, penicillin is not “far more effective” than colloidal silver. It may have been at one time. But the truth is -- and Celizic should know this -- pathogens have been mutating so rapidly that penicillin today is a mere shell of itself in terms of its effectiveness against the very pathogens it had previously been used to treat.

In fact, some pathogens have developed such a profound immunity to penicillin they can actually feed on it with no adverse effects. This is precisely why the big drug companies have had to come out with increasingly stronger alternatives to penicillin.

What’s more, a 2006 clinical study from BYU (published in Current Science, Vol. 91, No. 7, 10 October 2006) documented the fact that adding colloidal silver to an antibiotic drug such as penicillin actually increases the efficacy of the antibiotic by a factor of as much as tenfold when used against antibiotic-resistant microbes.

In other words, the study demonstrated that standard antibiotics – including penicillin -- tend to work significantly better against antibiotic-resistant microbes when colloidal silver is added!

That should tell you that the antibiotics simply aren’t as effective against today’s new mutated breeds of pathogens, but colloidal silver is still just as effective as ever.

In fact, since way back in the late 1800’s when medical researchers first learned how to run currents of electricity through pure silver wire suspended in water and created the first crude colloidal silver solution, colloidal silver has never lost its powerful infection-fighting qualities against the myriad of pathogens it’s been used to treat.

Even though pathogens are constantly mutating against common antibiotic drugs like penicillin and becoming immune to them, there has been no significant pathogenic immunity developed against silver. Colloidal silver still kills pathogens just as quickly and effectively as it always has.

No FDA “Ban” on Colloidal Silver (At Least, Not Yet)!

Another serious journalistic infraction committed by Mike Celizic in his MSNBC news article was his claim that the FDA had “banned” colloidal silver in “over-the-counter medicines” back in 1999.

Of course, the FDA never “banned” colloidal silver in 1999, or at any other time. No such thing ever happened, folks. And again, MSNBC news writer Mike Celizic should know this, or at least do his homework on claims before printing them.

In reality, the FDA merely wrote and published a position paper in 1999 stating that colloidal silver could not be sold by manufacturers or other vendors with accompanying printed health claims, such as “cures colds and flu” or "natural antibiotic" or "kills germs, fungi and viruses."

In other words, the FDA banned label and advertising claims for the powerful, antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral qualities of colloidal silver, but not the actual sales of the product.

In fact, to this very day, colloidal silver is still sold in every well-stocked health food store in America, throughout Canada, as well as throughout eastern and western Europe, Mexico and South America. Its sale or use has never been “banned.”

But Mike Celizic’s erroneous claim is now being quoted around the internet by people using it as evidence that the FDA has “banned colloidal silver” when nothing of the sort has happened. In my view, that’s a far cry from the concept of responsible journalism.

Why Did FDA Ban Label and Advertising Claims for Colloidal Silver?

So why did the FDA outlaw label and advertising claims for colloidal silver’s powerful antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral qualities back in 1999?

The FDA says it was to prevent the public from being misled into thinking that colloidal silver is an approved over-the-counter drug, rather than a mere nutritional supplement.

But critics say it was because millions of people were turning to relatively inexpensive colloidal silver in place of expensive and potentially dangerous antibiotic, antifungal and antiviral drugs.

In other words, many people believe the FDA banned health claims about colloidal silver, in order to protect drug company profits! (You can read more about it, here.)

10 Million Colloidal Silver Users Can’t Be Wrong

Today, colloidal silver usage is surging. There are an estimated 10 million regular colloidal silver users throughout North America alone, according to published sources. And millions more people who use colloidal silver only periodically, when they’re feeling a bit under the weather, so to speak.

Indeed, the FDA’s 1999 ban on label and advertising claims for colloidal silver actually drew more public attention to the substance than any other single factor in its 100 year history. This helped make colloidal silver one of the most popular nutritional supplements in America virtually overnight.

Celizic Got At Least One Thing Right

At least MSNBC news journalist Mike Celizic got one thing right when he wrote that Mr. Karason passed his medical examinations "with flying colors, and was given a clean bill of health."

This clearly demonstrates that the excessive amounts of colloidal silver Paul Karason took daily for over a decade caused him no apparent physical or medical harm, except for the blue-tinted skin.

You may remember all of the predictions of nervous system damage and organ failure made by doctors back in February of 2008, when Paul Karason’s story first came to public attention. Not one of those predictions has come to pass. The only consequence Mr. Karason has suffered from his decade long bout with excessive colloidal silver usage has been the blue skin.

Irresponsible v/s Responsible Usage

Of course, we’re not advocating or making excuses for excessive use of colloidal silver. On the contrary, while some overly enthusiastic colloidal silver advocates have claimed colloidal silver is “harmless at any level,” we have always been advocates of the safe, responsible usage of colloidal silver.

We believe it’s important for natural health advocates to remember that taking any substance in excess, for long periods of time, is generally going to result in some kind of health problem.

If, for example, you drink excessive amounts of carrot juice daily, for long periods of time, your skin will actually turn orange.

But that shouldn't stop you from drinking carrot juice from time to time if you like it. In responsible amounts, carrot juice is extremely healthy for your eyes and skin, your immune system, and for healthy organ function as well.

If you drink water in excess, for long periods of time, you can end up with water intoxication leading to a condition known as hyponatremia. That’s a sodium imbalance that can trigger a massive heart attack.

But of course, responsible daily intake of water is essential to good health and well-being.

Similarly, if you take too many aspirin daily, for long periods of time, you'll end up with bleeding ulcers. You could even end up bleeding to death internally.

But responsible usage of aspirin can relieve pain, protect against blood clots, and even save you from a heart attack.

I could go on and on naming the serious detriments that can be caused by the irresponsible usage of common, everyday beverages, foods, medicines and, yes, even nutritional supplements, all of which are extremely good for you in moderate, responsible dosages. But I think you get the point.

Colloidal Silver Is No Different

Colloidal silver is no different. Used responsibly, it boosts immunity and heals bacterial, fungal and viral infections of all sorts. Studies have demonstrated that it even kills the deadly antibiotic-resistant MRSA pathogen.

However, used irresponsibly, in excessive dosages for long periods of time, it can turn your skin greyish-blue.

That’s because when colloidal silver is used in excess, your liver and kidneys are unable to flush out all of the silver particles you’ve ingested. And your body ends up pushing the excess mineral silver out toward your skin. There, it can turn grayish blue upon exposure to ultraviolet light (i.e., sunlight).

In other words, sunlight tarnishes the silver that ends up in the skin of people who have used excessive amounts for overly long periods of time. And that is what causes the skin discoloration.

The condition is caused argyria. As we’ve seen from the story of the colloidal silver “blue man,” it is generally a harmless condition, albeit cosmetically unappealing.

Paul Karason, for example, has admitted in previous interviews that he was brewing up extremely concentrated batches of colloidal silver (perhaps as concentrated as 50 to 100 ppm) and drinking between 10 and 20 oz of this highly concentrated solution per day. And he apparently did so for years on end.

That’s a perfect example of the irresponsible (albeit, in his case, unwitting) over-usage of colloidal silver, particularly considering the fact that most experienced users ingest only a teaspoonful to a couple of ounces a day, depending upon whether they are just taking it for general health and immunity purposes, or are battling an active infection.

“The Dose is the Poison”

As Paracelsus, a physician living over 400 years ago who is often referred to as the "Grandfather of Pharmacology,” wisely observed, “The dose is the poison.”

This means that just about anything can be harmful to you, if you take a high enough dosage for a long enough period of time.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that you can’t trust everything you read or hear about colloidal silver in the mainstream news media. Some of it is true. And a lot of it is blatantly false.

Journalists often regurgitate information they receive from other sources, without checking the facts. And sometimes they also end up omitting important information that would otherwise throw an entirely different light on the subject matter.

So you have to be careful, and study for yourself important issues that could impact your health and well-being. Don’t let the mainstream news media be your sole source of information. After all, it’s your life and health that’s at stake.

Author's Bio: 

Steve Barwick has been a natural health journalist for over 30 years with hundreds of articles to his credit. He is also the author or co-author, editor and publisher of five books on natural health and survival topics, including the newly updated 547-page book, The Ultimate Colloidal Silver Manual.

Barwick is also the featured guest star of the newly released studio-quality 60-minute Colloidal Silver Secrets video. You can learn more about his books and the video at

Barwick also blogs on the topic of colloidal silver at and is known as the resident colloidal silver advocate at