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.
Nutrition to Fight Lead Poisoning
Robert J. Taylor, additional references sourced by Elizabeth O’Brien,
Vitamin B12 This vitamin, known as cobalamin, plays a major role in the formation of red blood cells. Like folate deficiency, B12 deficiency can seriously exacerbate lead-induced anemia by adding megaloblastic anemia (depressed red blood cell production) to hypochromic (caused by oxygen deficient red blood cells) and microcytic (due to small, short-lived red blood cells) anemia. B12 deficiency also produces neurological damage. Studies in rats indicate B12 can play a role in repairing brain function after lead exposure.
Excessively large doses of folate can mask B12 deficiency, since the two operate symbiotically within the body. B12 is found in good quantities in meat (particularly liver), fish, shellfish and dairy products. The vitamin B12 in eggs is poorly bioavailable and the B12 available from plant foods is almost wholly indigestible to humans, possibly even reducing the capacity to absorb usable B12. Vegans must rely on fortification of food or supplementation and are vulnerable to deficiency. B12 deficiency is common among the elderly, as the ability to absorb vitamin B12 declines with age. Because significant quantities are stored in the liver there is a considerable delay before the consequences of B12 deficiency manifest themselves. Milk and fish in the diet have the highest impact on serum (blood) vitamin B12 levels according to a recent Norwegian study. No upper limit has been established but intakes of 1-2 mg are considered safe.
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