LEAD Action News
LEAD Action News vol 10 no 2, June 2010, ISSN 1324-6011
Incorporating Lead Aware Times ( ISSN 1440-4966) and Lead Advisory Service News (ISSN 1440-0561)
The Journal of The LEAD (Lead Education and Abatement Design) Group Inc.

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Research article

Nutrition to Fight Lead Poisoning

By Robert J. Taylor, additional references sourced by Elizabeth O’Brien, Edited by Anne Roberts,
Photos by Catherine Sweeny. A Fact Sheet version of this Research Article can be found at www.lead.org.au/fs/Fact_sheet-Nutrients_that_reduce_lead_poisoning_June_2010.pdf

Curcumin There is some evidence that this compound, found predominantly in the Indian spice turmeric, may be neuroprotective against lead-induced damage (at least in mice). It also has therapeutic impacts on H. pylori infections that reduce stomach acidity, in turn reducing iron, zinc, calcium and vitamin B12 absorption. Unfortunately, the amount of curcumin in turmeric is highly variable (even in supplements) and turmeric is frequently lead-contaminated. One study from India indicates that over 99% of local turmeric may be lead-contaminated possibly because traders adulterate turmeric powder with coal tar dyes or lead chromate to mimic the vivid saffron colour. However, the Organic Farming Association of India claims that organically grown turmeric (haldi) is widely available within India and that India grows 80% of the world’s turmeric. Individuals with low iron levels should be aware that curcumin could reduce iron levels through acting as an iron chelator.

  1.  Protective effect of curcumin against lead neurotoxicity in rats P K Shukla and V K Khanna Human & Experimental Toxicology, Vol. 22, No. 12, 653-658 (2003) http://het.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/22/12/653 [finds that curcumin mitigates lead contamination of the brain in rats]
  2. Test your turmeric Pushpa Girimaji Tribune, India, Sunday, October 3, 2004 www.tribuneindia.com/2004/20041003/spectrum/right.htm [Reports research on the contamination of turmeric with arsenic, cadmium and lead]
  3. Goodness of haldi: Maximise your health benefits with organically grown turmeric Claude Aalvares, Director of the central secretariat of the Organic Farming Association of India, and editor of Organic Farming Source Book InToday 24 September 2009 http://health.einnews.com/news.php?wid=257268294
  4. Ironing out complementary medicine Robert T. Means, Jr Blood, 8 January 2009, Vol. 113, No. 2, pp. 270-271. http://bloodjournal.hematologylibrary.org/cgi/content/full/113/2/270 [Notes the ability of curcumin to have negative impacts on the iron metabolism, at least in mice]

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