Federal authorities say that ingesting colloidal silver can cause a condition known as argria, where the skin and nail become discolored a blue gray because of excess silver ions in the body. Photo from National Library of Medicine

Peachtree City company warned about promoting unapproved drugs

A Peachtree City company is the latest Georgia dietary supplement maker facing federal sanctions for unsubstantiated claims that their products can cure, treat, or prevent diseases.

It is also the latest dietary supplement company targeted by federal authorities for promoting the use of products with microscopic amounts of silver, called colloidal silver, to ward off or treat a number of diseases. There’s no scientific evidence backing such claims, the government says.

The Peachtree City company, Silver Armor, promoted one of its products for allergies, athlete’s foot, pain and infection, flu-like symptoms, food poisoning, ulcers, and abscesses, among other conditions, according to a warning letter the Food and Drug Administration recently sent to the company.

Other company products were recommended for acne, to stimulate production of stem cells, to reduce tartar buildup and to promote healthy circulation, the FDA letter says.

Such claims are evidence that Silver Armor’s products are intended for use as drugs, but the products haven’t been proven safe and effective, the FDA says in the letter.

Silver Armor describes itself online as a natural wellness company that specializes in colloidal silver products. Its research page claims that daily consumption of silver “forms a second immune system for our bodies, which actually protects and defends the T-cells (blood cells that protect the body from infection).

However, the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health – a U.S. government agency that explores alternative medicine — says that claims made about the health benefits of taking colloidal silver aren’t backed up by high-quality studies.

There is good evidence of colloidal silver dangers, though, the center says. Among the serious side effects is permanent discoloration of the skin and poor absorption of some drugs.

The FDA in 1999 ruled that colloidal silver products offered for treatment or prevention of disease are considered drugs. Since then, the FDA and the Federal Trade Commission have taken action against numerous companies and websites for claims about the supposed health benefits of colloidal silver.

Other Georgia dietary supplement companies have run afoul of the FDA for claims about other types of dietary supplements. Last year, Dynamic Technical Formulations of Roswell was warned that claims it was making for a product indicated it was a drug. FDA also said that an ingredient in the product was a prescription drug because of its toxicity. Some people taking products with that ingredient had had life-threatening reactions, the FDA said.

Also last year, FDA warned Star Health and Beauty of Covington about products it was promoting to stimulate sexual energy, reduce wrinkles and menopause symptoms, slow the aging process, enhance breasts, treat depression, restore thinning hair and decrease body fat.

Another dietary supplement maker, Norcross-based Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals and its own Jared Wheat, battled the federal government and critics for years. Wheat last year was charged with 18 criminal counts, including conspiracy to commit wire fraud, money laundering, and conspiracy to manufacture controlled substances related to his company. That case is pending. Wheat, his company and an associates were also ordered by a federal judge last year to pay more than $40 million to resolve an unrelated civil matter.

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