“Even when a dietary manipulation is confirmed efficient in lowering blood lead ranges, reliance on such an intervention locations many of the burden for prevention on these most affected and least chargeable for the underlying environmental causes of lead toxicity. Dietary interventions, subsequently, must not ever substitute for efforts to cut back lead publicity to secure ranges. Alternatively, when used as an adjunct to environmental measures, some dietary adjustments could show to have advantages past any impression on lead toxicity.” For instance, consumption of vitamin C-rich meals could assist with “blood strain, blood lipid profiles, and respiratory signs,” along with maybe influencing “lead toxicity by means of an affect on absorption of lead, elimination of lead, transport throughout the physique, tissue binding, or secondary mechanisms of toxicity,” that’s, even simply serving to ameliorate a few of the injury. However what is that this primarily based on?

In 1939, a outstanding examine was printed, entitled “Vitamin C therapy in lead poisoning,” by which 17 lead business staff got 100 mg of vitamin C a day, the quantity present in one or two oranges, and “with virtually all of them there was a marked achieve in vigor, coloration of pores and skin, cheerfulness, blood image, urge for food and talent to sleep nicely.” The 17 staff have been chosen as a result of they appeared to be in fairly dangerous form and probably even had scurvy, so it’s no marvel a bit of vitamin C helped. However vitamin C is an antioxidant, and oxidation is “an essential mechanism underlying lead toxicity,” so it’s conceivable that it might have mediated a few of the hurt. However, the vitamin C didn’t seem to only cut back the injury from the lead—it additionally diminished the lead itself. As you may see from 1:43 in my video Can Vitamin C Assist with Lead Poisoning?, the quantity of lead in a painter’s urine over a interval of a month after beginning 200 mg of vitamin C a day exhibited a five-fold drop, suggesting he was absorbing much less of the lead into his physique. He was considered one of three painters researchers tried this on, and evidently all three painters’ ranges dropped. The researchers concluded that these “uncovered to guide…needs to be suggested to incorporate of their eating regimen loads of such wealthy sources of vitamin C as tomatoes (contemporary or canned), uncooked cabbage, oranges or grapefruit, uncooked spinach (and even cooked, in little or no water), uncooked turnips, inexperienced bell peppers, cantaloupe, and many others.”

Now, this drop in lead within the topics’ urine was seen with solely three painters, and the examine didn’t have a management group of painters who didn’t take vitamin C, so maybe everybody’s lead ranges would have dropped for another purpose or maybe it was only a coincidence. You don’t know…till you set it to the take a look at.

These unique information have been so compelling that others have been impressed to attempt to replicate them. I imply, if it truly labored, if vitamin C may assist with lead poisoning, grapefruits could possibly be handed out on the manufacturing facility door! The sooner examine didn’t have an excellent management group, however the researchers weren’t going to make that very same mistake this time. On this examine, half of the group bought 100 mg of vitamin C a day—not only for a month however for a 12 months—and the opposite group bought nothing. The end result? “Cautious examine of a giant group of lead staff failed to disclose any impact of ascorbic acid vitamin C…on the lead focus within the blood…or urine” (emphasis added). There was no distinction of their bodily situation and no adjustments of their blood work, so “no purpose has been discovered for recommending using ascorbic acid vitamin C to reduce results of lead absorption.” What a disappointment. It seemed so promising!

Every time I examine a subject, I attempt to learn the analysis chronologically so I can expertise the discoveries as they occurred all through historical past. At this level, although, I used to be so tempted to leap to a current overview to see what had occurred within the intervening 74 years since that first examine was printed, however I didn’t need to spoiler alert! myself, so I saved studying the papers sequentially. There have been in vitro research the place researchers dripped antioxidants on lead uncovered cells and it appeared to assist, in order that they jumped on the cantaloupe bandwagon, too, however these have been take a look at tube research.

The primary inhabitants examine was printed in 1999, and, as you may see at 4:02 in my video, researchers did discover that these with excessive vitamin C ranges of their blood tended to have decrease lead ranges. Youths with the very best vitamin C ranges had an almost 90 p.c decrease prevalence of elevated blood lead ranges in comparison with these with the bottom vitamin C ranges. Now, this was a cross-sectional examine, only a snapshot in time, so we don’t know if the vitamin C brought on a drop in lead or if maybe the lead brought on a drop in vitamin C. Lead is a pro-oxidant, so perhaps it ate up the vitamin C. And who has greater vitamin C ranges? Those that can afford to have greater vitamin C ranges and eat numerous fruit and veggies. “Additionally it is attainable that greater ascorbic acid ranges could characterize more healthy life or higher socio-economic standing.” Certainly, perhaps decrease vitamin C ranges are only a proxy for being poor, and that’s the actual purpose for greater lead ranges.

There are many good causes to be consuming extra fruit and veggies, and we needs to be consuming extra spinach regardless, however it could be good to know if vitamin C truly helps with lead poisoning. And, to know that, we have to put it to the take a look at.

Sadly, many of the printed interventions are usually not very useful, with such titles as “Results of dietary vitamin C supplementation on lead-treated sea cucumbers,….”  And, there’s a stunning variety of articles on the results of vitamin C supplementation on mouse testicles. Why? As a result of lead could impair male fertility. Certainly, lead staff seem to have a diminished chance of fathering kids, however this may increasingly partially be as a consequence of oxidative stress. In that case, how about giving an antioxidant, like vitamin C, and placing it to the take a look at(es)? No, I’m not speaking about rat testes or suggesting frog testes. Neither am I proposing crab testes. (I didn’t even know crabs had testicles!) Lastly, right here’s one to debate: “Scientific relevance of vitamin C amongst lead-exposed infertile males.” A examine of human males, which I’ll cowl in Yellow Bell Peppers for Male Infertility and Lead Poisoning?.

I’m at all times conflicted about writing these sorts of blogs and producing movies like Can Vitamin C Assist with Lead Poisoning?. I can think about some simply need “the reply,” however these with vested and industrial pursuits typically exploit that pure impulse. That is drawback with science basically, however maybe significantly in vitamin. With regards to one thing as life-or-death essential as what to feed ourselves and our households we shouldn’t simply observe somebody’s opinions or beliefs on the matter. We must always demand to see the science. That’s what I attempt to do: Current the out there information as pretty and even-handedly as attainable, and allow you to make up your personal thoughts. You may think about how simply somebody may cherry-pick only one or two research and current a distorted however compelling case for or towards, on this case, vitamin C dietary supplements. That’s why I really feel it’s essential to current every examine of their historic context. Keep tuned for the thrilling conclusion in Yellow Bell Peppers for Male Infertility & Lead Poisoning?.


 For these of you who’re considering, Why ought to I care about lead? I don’t eat paint chips or use leaded gasoline. Anyway, what’s the massive deal?, take a look at my full collection of lead movies for data on how we bought into this mess and a few of the methods we are able to dig ourselves out:

  • How the Lead Paint Business Acquired Away with It
  • Lead in Ingesting Water
  • How the Leaded Fuel Business Acquired Away with It
  • “Regular” Blood Lead Ranges Can Be Poisonous
  • The Results of Low-Stage Lead Publicity in Adults
  • Methods to Decrease Lead Ranges with Weight-reduction plan: Thiamine, Fiber, Iron, Fats, Fasting?
  • Methods to Decrease Lead Ranges with Weight-reduction plan: Breakfast, Complete Grains, Milk, Tofu?
  • Finest Meals for Lead Poisoning: Chlorella, Cilantro, Tomatoes, Moringa?
  • Finest Meals for Lead Poisoning: Garlic
  • Is Lipstick Secure Given the Lead Contamination?
  • Can Saunas Detoxify Lead from the Physique?
  • How A lot Lead Is in Natural Hen Soup (Bone Broth)?
  • Lead in Calcium Dietary supplements
  • Ought to Pregnant Ladies Take Calcium Dietary supplements to Decrease Lead Ranges?
  • The Rise in Blood Lead Ranges at Being pregnant and Menopause
  • Lead Contamination in Fish and Sport
  • Lead Contamination in Sizzling Sauces

In well being,

Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you happen to haven’t but, you may subscribe to my free movies right here and watch my dwell shows:

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