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Edible Silver – a Danger to the Skin

When we last talked about edible gold, we noted that, because gold is completely inert, it can be eaten without ill-effect. Silver, on the other hand, is a much different – if not bizarre – story.

Like gold, silver can be pounded thin enough to form an edible garnish for deserts. Vark, a garnish from India, is a foil of 99.9% silver used to decorate sweets. In addition, many kinds of dragée, or decorative confections, are made with silver. Typically, these can be eaten without ill-effect because the amount of silver is so small. Ironically, problems arise when silver is ingested for medical purposes.

People have long known of silver’s antibacterial and antiviral effects. In the name of health benefits, people have distilled solutions of water with a small concentration of silver. Repeated ingestion of such liquid is notorious for causing argyria – a rare condition that turns a person’s skin to a slate-blue color.

When silver is ingested, it can bind with soft tissues in the body like skin, sweat glands, and eyeballs. Repeated ingestion of silver causes it to build up, eventually causing permanent discoloration of the body’s soft tissues, otherwise known by the medical term argyria. Argyria is a purely cosmetic condition, causing no other effects to the body besides color.

Although argyria is permanent, it has been reversed in one case through laser surgery. Still others claim that a cleansing, whole food diet can purge the silver from the body and reverse argyria. In any case, we think that, like gold, silver is another metal best kept out of your digestive system.

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