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

Carotenoids An area that needs more research. There is some evidence that low carotene levels are associated with higher blood lead but the correlation is not as strong as with vitamin C or E and does not apply to all carotenoids (lutein/ zeaxanthin show no correlation to blood lead levels). Their strongest impact may be indirect, as some can, when consumed with vitamin C, largely negate the inhibition of iron absorption by polyphenols, found in such commonly consumed items as tea, coffee, red wine and beer, and reduce the inhibitory impact of phytates, found in whole grains, nuts and seeds, on iron absorption (see iron fact sheet). Carotenoids are vegetable pigments found in most vegetables that are not light green: the type best known to the public is probably beta-carotene (a vitamin A compound found in carrots).

Carotenoids: Higher levels of the following carotenoids have been linked to lower blood lead levels but the link has yet to be explained  Lycopene: tomatoes, pink grapefruit, guava, [center rear] watermelon [rear left];  α-Carotene/β-carotene: red chilli [middle row center], smilax, cassava, bananas [not pictured] , orange [rear row right], carrots [front row left], pumpkin [rear row right], ridge gourd [not pictured], green chilli [middle row left], tomato [middle row center], green peas, field and French beans [middle row center], sweet potato [rear row right], kale, watercress [front row center], spinach [rear row center];  α-crytoxanthin/β-crytoxanthin: red capsicum [middle row right], pumpkin [rear row right], squash [not pictured], mandarins [can rear row left], coriander [front row left], carrots [front row left], papaya [middle row. left], cilantro [not pictured], orange [rear row right], corn [front row right], watermelon [rear left], Serrano pepper [not pictured], avocadoes [front row right] and grapefruit [centre rear]. A different set of carotenoids may help negate the inhibitory effect of polyphenols and phytates on iron absorption (see iron fact sheet). Far stronger evidence indicates Garlic [front row left] has a range of ameliorating affects on lead toxicity though it still has yet to be validated in human trials.

Graded Associations of Blood Lead and Urinary Cadmium Concentrations with Oxidative-Stress–Related Markers in the U.S. Population: Results from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey Duk-Hee Lee, Ji-Sun Lim, Kyungeun Song, Yongchool Boo, and David R. Jacobs Jr Environmental Health Perspectives VOLUME 114 | NUMBER 3 | March 2006 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1392227/ [Shows an apparent link between carotene levels and blood lead. It must be emphasized however that without further research it cannot be automatically assumed to be causative, given the link is with serum (blood) rather than dietary carotenoids]

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