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We wear good as fancy jewelry and a symbol of our matrimony. We adorn household décor with it, plate electronics components with it, and trade it on the stock market. And sometimes, we eat it.

Can You Eat Gold

(Pixabay / makamuki0)

Gold leaf-wrapped sushi is a real thing and so are doughnuts topped with 24K gold flakes. In recent history, people have used gold to treat arthritis and syphilis. People continue to ingest gold solutions as a homeopathic remedy to reduce inflammation, bolster the nervous system, purify the body, and balance the mind.

If you have not yet plied the metal for its consumable benefits (or even if you have) here are a few things you may be wondering.

Are all forms of gold edible?

No. Most wedding rings are made of 14K or 18K gold, which has been combined with metal alloys for added strength. Edible gold must be pure, ranging from 23-24K and free of other metals that could be toxic. Some edible metals may contain a small amount of another safe metal, such as silver, which is also acceptable to digest.

Has the FDA declared gold to be safe to eat?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has been largely silent on the matter, but the Centers for Disease Control have declared that gold is not a poison. So there’s that. European authorities have had much more to say on the matter. The European Food Safety Administration (EFSA) has even created a designation known as E-175 to identify gold that is safe for human consumption.

Are there negative effects from using gold in dentistry?

Gold has been used for decades in dental fillings and traces of the metal have been found in the saliva of people with these fillings. The worst that seems to come of having gold in your mouth is that some people who are hypersensitive to the metal develop a rash. Swallowing the gold-containing saliva hasn’t caused people any documentable harm.

In summary, when the right kind of gold is ingested in modest amounts, there don’t seem to be any negative effects—and there may even be some benefits. However, if you do much poking around on the subject, you’ll soon see that there isn’t much research on ingestible gold to back up its pros and cons. Bottom line: If you get a chance to eat a piece of gold-leaf wrapped sushi, go for it.