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.

About Us
bell system lead poisoning
Contact Us
Council Lead Project
Library-Fact Sheets
Home Page
Media Releases
Referral Lists
Site Map
Slide Shows-Films
Useful Links

Visitor Number

  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

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.

Vitamin B12 cobalamin

Vitamin B12: cobalamin is not available from plant sources. The best sources are liver (ox, lamb [Pictured above] calf, goose, pig, chicken), kidney ( lamb, ox, calf [front row centre], pig), heart (beef) [Front row right], crab, kippers, sardines, oysters [back row ], cod, fish roe and octopus [not pictured] Eggs contain good levels, but it is poorly bioavailable (less than 10% can be absorbed). Cow’s milk [Right centre] has low levels but because of both the quantity consumed and bioavailability can have the largest influence on serum blood levels.
  1. Vitamin B12 Jane Higdon The Linus Pauling Institute http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/vitamins/vitaminB12/ [Good summary of B12 nutritional role]
  2. Clioquinol and vitamin B12 (cobalamin) synergistically rescue the lead-induced impairments of synaptic plasticity in hippocampal dentate gyrus area of the anesthetized rats in vivo W.-H. Chen, M. Wang, S.-S. Yu, L. Su, D.-M. Zhu, J.-Q. She, X.-J. Cao and D.-Y. Ruan Neuroscience Vol 147, Issue 3, 13 July 2007, Pages 853-864 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S030645220700543X [finds that in rats some lead-induced damage to the brain can be reduced by B12 supplementation.]
  3. Dietary sources of vitamin B-12 and their association with plasma vitamin B-12 concentrations in the general population: the Hordaland Homocysteine Study Anna Vogiatzoglou, A David Smith, Eha Nurk, Paula Berstad, Christian A Drevon, Per M Ueland, Stein E Vollset, Grethe S Tell and Helga Refsum Am J Clin Nutr (February 3, 2009) http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/early/2009/02/03/ajcn.2008.26598.abstract [Finds milk to have the highest influence on serum (blood) B12 levels, followed by fish]

Contents | Previous Item | Next Item | Disclaimer

About Us | bell system lead poisoning | Contact Us | Council LEAD Project | egroups | Library - Fact Sheets | Home Page | Media Releases
| Q & A | Referral lists | Reports | Site Map | Slide Shows - Films | Subscription | Useful LinksSearch this Site

Privacy Policy | Disclaimer

Last Updated 27 January 2015
Copyright © The LEAD Group Inc. 1991- 2015
PO Box 161 Summer Hill NSW 2130 Australia
Phone: +61 2 9716 0014