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Silver Supplements Becoming Controversial

Posted - Jun. 9, 2004 at 2:20 p.m.



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NEW YORK, Jun 09, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- The U.S. debate over whether silver-based health supplements harm or help has become louder and more litigious than ever, ABC News reported Wednesday.

Silver mixtures are part of the nearly $20 billion that U.S. residents spent on dietary supplements last year. But an increasing number of people think there may be problems with silver supplements.

"It has never been proven to work," noted Dr. Bruce Bouts, an internist in Findlay, Ohio. Others, who have used the products, say their skin has actually turned a silvery color after ingesting it.

"I was convinced that it was supposed to be really good for me," Arline Gilliam recalls. "I turned silver in 2002. It is devastating. I notice people staring at me all the time."

Rosemary Jacobs and Gilliam suffer from a rare condition called argyria, which causes sufferers' skin to turn gray or bluish from ingesting silver.

The company that produced the product used by Gilliam is out of business, but other brands of liquid silver supplement seem to be flourishing online and in most health stores. Gilliam, who actually turned silver four years after she stopped using her supplement, is suing the manufacturer, which denies responsibility for her condition.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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