Ever heard anyone refer to “people as every color of the rainbow”? Black, brown and white aren’t really colors we associate with rainbows, but depending on the situation people I can understand the red, orange, green (if you’re sick you can look a bit greenish), pink, and yellow references. I remember as a child hearing this reference and wondering about purple people, where were some of those? (that purple people eater song only added to my young confusion!) Even with that though, bruise related discoloration can cause patches of skin to turn purplish colors. But for such a common phrase that I’ve always found amusing, “till you’re blue in the face”, that’s one I’ve never seen (and blue man group doesn’t count.).
And it’s not just their faces either.
Benjamin “Benjy” Stacy frightened University of Kentucky Medical Center doctors with the color of his skin when he was born in 1975. Why? Because he blue. He was born with literally blue-tinted skin. Apparently he wasn’t the only one either. He’s a member of an isolated family in the Appalachia, where they’re all blue. (and I don’t mean sad…)
With a lineage dating back six generations to when with a French orphan, Martin Fugate, settled in Eastern Kentucky. These mountain people have long ago played host to a medical mystery that has since been solved through modern genetics.
A study of family charts and blood samples led to the discovery of this recessive disease that only surface if both parents carry a defective gene.
The Fugate descendants carried the genetic condition called methemoglobinemia.
Dr. Ayalew Tefferi, a hematologist from Minnesota’s Mayo Clinic says,
“Methemoglobinemia is a blood disorder in which an abnormal amount of methemoglobin — a form of hemoglobin — is produced, according to the National Institutes for Health. Hemoglobin is responsible for distributing oxygen to the body and without oxygen, the heart, brain and muscles can die.
In methemoglobinemia, the hemoglobin is unable to carry oxygen and it also makes it difficult for unaffected hemoglobin to release oxygen effectively to body tissues. Patients’ lips are purple, the skin looks blue and the blood is “chocolate colored” because it is not oxygenated.”
The disorder can be inherited or caused by exposure to certain drugs and chemicals such as anesthetic drugs like benzocaine and xylocaine.
The continual passing of this gene among this family had everything to do with their living in isolation, and later interbred-marriages.
Martin Fugate came to Troublesome Creek in 1820, reportedly he was blue when he got here. He married Elizabeth Smith, who also carried the recessive gene. Now what are the odds of that?! And on a side note, martial choices must have been pretty slim back then for the blue fella to be looking good. They had seven children and four were blue skin toned. Since there weren’t any railroads and very few roads outside the area, the community didn’t really outside of that gene pool. Cousins started marrying cousins.
One of Martin and Elizabeth Fugate’s blue boys, Zachariah, even married his mother’s sister. (Ew.) And these marriages lead to lots of children. (We’re talking family with 6-17+kids!)
To learn more about this family in-depth check out:
In the meantime though, let me introduce you to another blue mister, who lives in California. Paul Karason in 2008 he went on the Today Show and spoke with Matt Lauer about his skin that started turning blue in the late 90’s. Cause of his pigment change?
“He used a silver preparation to treat a bad case of dermatitis on his face that broke out due to stress when his father died. The condition he has is called argyria, and NBC’s chief medical editor, Dr. Nancy Snyderman, said it’s caused by the silver that Karason used to treat his dermatitis and has been drinking in a liquid form called colloidal silver on and off for some 14 years.
Colloidal silver is a suspension of silver in a liquid base — in this case, distilled water. Karason makes it himself by running an electrical current through water with a piece of silver in it, a process called electrolysis.
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. Silver is a heavy metal and doctors say it can collect in the organs and cause kidney and liver damage and even brain seizures. But it is still sold as a dietary supplement.”
““I did it all on my own,” Karason said. “Originally, I just saw an ad for a colloidal silver generator in a magazine and the picture stuck in my head like a song might stick in your head. I had a friend who had severe petroleum poisoning, and I heard colloidal silver was helpful for that, and that’s how I started.””
The silver cocktail per say didn’t do anything in his case that it was supposed to do, and color change is permanent. The good news is that other than sticking out like a sore thumb at social gatherings with his girlfriend, he’s essentially in good health. (and he plans to continue drink the silver concoctions.)
Source: click here.
- Inbreeding Turns Appalachians Blue (weeklyworldnews.com)
- Five (Supposed) Health Foods You Wont Believe that People Consume! (brokerfish.com)