A Cal Poly alumnus is one of two California water sport enthusiasts to create a product they say combats symptoms of water pollution.
The dietary supplement spray, Ocean Solution, has been in the works for almost eight years and has been on the market for almost a year.
“I started noticing that not only myself but all my friends who were out in the surf were getting increased sinus infections and raw throat,” said Jason Johnson, Cal Poly alumnus and creator of Ocean Solution.
Johnson himself tested the product for three years and said it worked for him.
Pharmacist Wayne Blackburn signed on to the project about five years ago and helped Johnson decide to use Colloidal Silver to fight bacterial problems.
“Colloidal Silver is a great antimicrobial and it’s been proven since the 1930s that it is effective,” he said.
Colloidal silver is a controversial ingredient that can be dangerous in large doses or over long periods, according to healthcentral.com, but because the spray administers only small doses of the Silver, the creators say it is not dangerous.
“You would have to drink about 5 bottles of our product for about 3 years to have any negative effects,” Johnson said.
Dr. John Reinfelder, an associate professor in the department of environmental sciences at Rutgers University said, “The silver will pass through you with little absorption in the gut so I doubt it would be harmful at low doses, but I worry that it would kill beneficial gut flora.”
Since the solution is a spray, Johnson and Blackburn said there should be no side effects or risks.
“The great thing about the product is that there is no resistance to antibiotics with it,” Johnson said. “With Colloidal Silver, when it comes in contact with bacteria it actually suffocates it.”
According to the product’s Web site, Colloidal Silver was replaced by penicillin because it was much more expensive to produce. Blackburn said it is still very expensive, but worth it.
“Still more expensive to produce than prescription antibiotics,” he said. “But we’re looking for quality in this solution. People can even make it at home, but it’s much more dangerous.”
Ross Porter, a Paso Robles wake boarder, said he found the product after searching for something to cure his sinus infections from being in the water. He has been using the product for months, three to four times a week and said it has helped him a lot.
“Out of all the times I went (wakeboarding) this summer I probably only had one or two times that I got a sinus infection,” he said.
Porter wakeboards primarily at Lake Nacimiento, which he said “is a relatively clean lake but does have some bacterial problems.”
Johnson explained that the solution is sprayed in the mouth, nose, ears and on any cuts or scrapes before and after entering the water. He said it can also be used on staff infections from coral cuts.
At Cal Poly, Johnson received a Bachelor of Science in physical education and a master’s in exercise physiology. He said his drive to achieve success with the product can be traced back to his Cal Poly years.
“When I was at Poly it was really the ‘learn by doing’ attitude that helped me tremendously,” he said. “It really helped you find different ways to do what you wanted to do.”