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Clin Exp Dermatol. 2003 May;28(3):254-6.

Severe generalized argyria secondary to ingestion of colloidal silver protein.

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Department of Dermatology, Ealing Hospital, London, UK.


Argyria is a rare cause of cutaneous discolouration caused by silver deposition. We report a case of dramatic and diffuse argyria secondary to ingestion of colloidal silver protein over a 1-year period. Stained electron microscopy with spectral analysis was used to confirm the clinical diagnosis. Silver-protein complexes are deposited in the skin and reduced to inert silver salts by sunlight in a process similar to that harnessed in photography. Our patient had obtained the silver for consumption via mail order. It had been advertised as a cure for a variety of diseases. Colloidal silver protein is commercially available as a 'food supplement', hence circumventing the strict controls placed on medicines.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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