LEAD Action News
LEAD Action News vol 8 no 2, 2001, 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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Dietary, Genetic & Other Factors in Human Lead Biokinetics

Letter from the Editor, LEAD Action News to "Australian Chelation Network*" 13th November 2000. The network is an ad hoc collection of Australian practitioners and researchers who are either opposed to low level chelation; or who refer patients for chelation / carry out chelation; as well as patients who have undergone chelation [and for whom I had an email address].

Please find below the URL* for the Reuters Health article called "Genetic Factors Determine Lead Levels in Body" (3rd November 2000) by Anne Harding, which was emailed to me by a colleague in the US. I have added the URL for the Table of Contents | 108(10) Oct 2000 http://ehp03.niehs.nih.gov/article/browseIssue.action?issue=info:doi/10.1289/issue.ehp.
and for the full article http://ehp03.niehs.nih.gov/article/fetchArticle.action?
from the Environmental Health Perspectives website, though I have not read the full October 2000 journal article (Vol 108 No 10) that the Reuters story is based on.

The research appears to me to have potentially broad implications and I would appreciate your comments on it so that I might put together a newsletter article about the research and its reception among practitioners and researchers as well as others. Please email your comments to me so that I can more readily incorporate them into an article for web-publication.

Secondly, I have recently read the book by a Canadian nurse and doctor called "Turning Lead into Gold" which raises important issues such as the use of blood lead levels as a valid bio-marker for chronic lead poisoning, the use of urine challenge testing and hair trace mineral analysis and low-level chelation therapy for heavy metal poisoning. I was so impressed with the book that I have ordered several copies from the co-author Dr Zigurts Strauts and would like to know who among you would like to borrow a copy of the book from The LEAD Group's library when they arrive?? Please let me know.

Unfortunately, Dr Strauts has had no further publications since this 1995 book yet it leaves some questions unanswered. If any of the chelation therapists or researchers receiving this email would be able to provide a description of the Australian chelation scene as it has progressed perhaps beyond the level of knowledge in the "Turning Lead into Gold" book, I would also be very grateful for this. Professor Gulson kindly provided me with a speech called "The Current State of Chelation in Australia" that he delivered in early 1999 and which is published in LEAD Action News Vol 7 no 3, available on our website at www.lead.org.au/Lanv7n3/L73-12.html

If anyone has anything to add to this speech, I would love to know about it.

Thanking you all, Yours Sincerely
Elizabeth O'Brien, The LEAD Group Inc.

* US$3.50 will be charged to retrieve the full text of a Health eLine story more than 30 days old from the archives of www.reuters.com/newsChannel.jhtml?type=healthNews unless you subscribe.

Dietary, Genetic & Other Factors in Human Lead Biokinetics, cont'd

Letter to the Editor, LEAD Action News, 16th November 2000

Thanks for the excellent information [see letter to "Chelation Network" dated 13th November 2000]. This helps to explain some of the reasons why lead is such a fickle thing. There seem to be some children who should be lead poisoned who have low levels and others who get high levels after very small exposures.

The genes tested reflect the complex pathway that lead follows. Unfortunately these particular genes don't directly reflect the gastrointestinal absorption pathway, although Vitamin D receptor status may influence it to some extent. Brian Gulson's colleague John Eisman would be a good person to look through all of this as he did some of the seminal studies on vitamin D allotypes and has also researched lead with Brian.

Some of lead's many toxic effects are mediated by the effects on protein kinase C, where picomolar concentrations of lead will antagonise micromolar concentrations of calcium. Thus a lead level of 0.50 µmol will antagonise 0.5 µmol of calcium, which is a lot of calcium given the serum level of 2.20 µmol. Genetic variations in protein kinase C and other proteins that lead injures or inhibits would explain further why some children and adults are far more affected than others. Thus, we can expect to see many other genes identified as being of importance. I somewhat doubt whether this will translate into any clinical difference for individual patients within the next 15 years. Diet may also affect lead absorption from the gastrointestinal tract - phytates bind calcium. Does anyone know if phytates bind lead? (If not they may aggravate the problem!).

I would like to draw everyone's attention to the fundamental importance of diet in determining the end effect of lead poisoning. Dr Bourre showed how omega 3 fats protect animals from brain injury by lead some 10 years ago. Simopolous' seminal book The Omega Plan (in the USA the book is called The Omega Diet) www.eatwild.com/jo.html outlines the many health benefits of omega 3 intake in the diet. There is an overwhelming amount of scientific evidence that omega 3 intake helps all neuro-developmental disorders, in addition to their positive effect on heart disease and cancer. The LEAD Group now recommend The Omega Plan in addition to attention to maintaining a good intake of iron and calcium in the diet.

Omega 3 fats are discussed in The Omega Plan and I am happy to discuss it at any length with people provided they have first read The Omega Plan as it is pretty useless otherwise. [The book is available from orders@amazon.com WEB: www.amazon.com]

As Simopoulos says elsewhere, there is a 4 way interaction between diet <-> genes <-> environment <-> phenotype where phenotype means total state of health and other bodily features and environment includes everything else (chemical environment, family environment, schooling, spiritual etc). The importance of Simopoulos and her book are reflected in the recent radical changes to the American Heart Association Diet - see http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/Diet-and-Lifestyle-Recommendations_UCM


1. Bressler J, Kim KA, Chakraborti T, Goldstein G, "Molecular mechanisms of lead neurotoxicity." Neurochem Res 1999 Apr;24(4):595-600

2. Simopoulos, Artemis and Robinson, Jo. The Omega Diet or The Omega Plan. Harper Perennial 1999

Dr Ben Balzer
Beverly Hills Medical Service
109 Morgan St, Beverly Hills NSW 2209 AUSTRALIA
Phone: + 61 2 9502 3355 Fax: +61 2 9502 4243

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