Low Vitamin D and C Intake Affect Lead Levels

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January 02, 2008 | 8,290 views

A low vitamin D intake can be linked to lead accumulation in bones, according to researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health. Contamination with even low levels of lead has been linked to neurological and developmental problems in children, and elevated blood pressure, kidney dysfunction and anemia in adults.

The gradual elimination of some of the most obvious sources of environmental lead, such as lead-based paint and leaded gasoline, has reduced overall blood lead levels in western populations over the past few decades.

The investigators discovered that lower dietary intake of vitamin D, and vitamin C enhances the absorption and retention of lead in the body. The researchers say these nutrient/lead relationships displayed 'threshold' effects, in that only the men in the lowest (levels) of nutrient intake had significantly higher bone lead and blood lead levels. In other words, the lead-lowering benefits of increasing vitamin C and D intake trailed off at higher levels of daily consumption.

American Journal of Epidemiology 1998;147:1162-1174.

Dr. Mercola's Comment:

This is yet another amazing benefit of vitamin D and C. It is important to understand the threshold effect mentioned. If you are already consuming adequate levels of these vitamins, additional amounts are unlikely to provide benefits with respect to lead absorption. Lack of vitamin D has also been linked to high blood pressure, slow the incidence of arthritis progression, progression of atherosclerosis, and prostate cancer.