Home | About | Contact | Buy the book | Blog

Nature Cures natural health advice

 

Let food be your medicine

 

 

 Ailments

 Food

 Nutrition

 Minerals

 Hazards

 

ARSENIC

 

Arsenic is a heavy metal, with the atomic number of 33, that can be found as a contaminant in food and water sources. Shellfish and other seafood, as well as fruits, vegetables and rice; are the foods most commonly contaminated. Arsenic poisoning typically occurs as a result of industrial exposure, from contaminated wine or illegally distilled spirits.

 

Inorganic arsenic compounds are much more poisonous to most biologic systems (animals, plants, humans) than organic arsenic. Inorganic arsenic occurs in nature in the soil, copper and lead ore deposits and water but usually in low concentrations. However, it can become more concentrated when industrial processes use it to make wood preservatives, metal compounds or organic arsenic-containing compounds such as insecticides, weed killers and other compounds. If such compounds are burned, inorganic arsenic can be released into the air and later settle on the ground or in water and either remain in the inorganic form or combine with organic material.

 

Arsenic is highly toxic to life forms, except some types of bacteria, and if it has been ingested orally, the first signs and symptoms of arsenic poisoning will appear within thirty minutes, and may include the following:

  • Confusion

  • Diarrhoea

  • Drowsiness

  • Headaches

If the arsenic has been inhaled, or a less concentrated amount has been ingested, symptoms may take longer to emerge. As the arsenic poisoning develops, the patient may start suffering convulsions and their fingernail pigmentation may change (leukonychia). The following signs and symptoms are associated in more severe cases of arsenic poisoning:

  • Abdominal pain

  • Blood in the urine

  • Breath smells like garlic

  • Cardiac problems

  • Cramping muscles

  • Convulsions

  • Death

  • Dehydration

  • Delirium

  • Excessive sweating

  • Haemolysis (destruction of red blood cells)

  • Loss of hair

  • Metallic taste in the mouth

  • Mouth produces excess saliva

  • Peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage to extremities)

  • Problems swallowing

  • Shock

  • Stomach cramps

  • Vertigo

  • Vomiting

Long-term exposures to arsenic lower than toxic levels can lead to skin changes (darkening or discoloration, redness, swelling and hyperkeratosis (skin bumps that resemble corns or warts). Whitish lines (Mees' lines) may appear in the fingernails. Both sensory and motor nerve defects can develop. Additionally, liver and kidney function may be affected. Studies of people in parts of Southeast Asia and South America, where there has been a high level of arsenic in the drinking water, have reported an increased risk of developing cancers of the bladder, kidney, lung and skin.

Sources of arsenic

  • Apple juice, glues, pigments and wine.

  • Milk and dairy products, beef, pork, poultry and cereal.

  • Many water sources in the world have high levels of arsenic in them, both due to normal arsenic leaching out of the ground and from mining and industrial waste.

  • Arsenic is also often found in rice, which may be a potentially serious source of exposure in certain at-risk populations (especially children)

Rice absorbs arsenic from soil or water much more effectively than most plants. That's in part because it is one of the only major crops grown in water-flooded conditions, which allow arsenic to be more easily taken up by its roots and stored in the grains... When rice is grown in soils after cotton they are likely to be contaminated as cotton was a crop that was heavily treated with arsenical pesticides for decades in part to combat the boll weevil beetle.

 

NOTE: Rice cooked boiled dry in a pan can contain high levels of arsenic as it is reabsorbed by the rice and should only be consumed two to three times a week. It has been found that when cooked in the filter part of a coffee percolator, arsenic levels are reduced by 85%. Stove top percolators are not suitable, only the drip-brewers will work. However, cooking this way is time consuming as most coffee percolators run on ten minute cycles. White rice takes twenty minutes and brown rice takes forty minutes. Eventually a suitable machine may be developed for the sole purpose of cooking rice.

 

To remove arsenic from the system see Heavy Metals.

 

Subscribe to the monthly newsletter

 

Like on Facebook

 

Follow on Twitter 

 

Nature Cures book gift

 "Nature cures not the physician..." Hippocrates 460 BC

NATURE CURES BOOK

Subscribe to the Nature Cures monthly newsletter

Search Nature Cures for an ailment, health disorder or disease

 

Miscellaneous

A-Z of health disorders

A-Z of health hazards

Addictions

Air-purifying houseplants

Allergies

Aromatherapy

Bacterial infections

Cancer

Diabetes

Drug dangers

Fungi and yeast infections

Corneal graft information

Grow your own health garden

Health and welfare links

Home-made air fresheners

Home-made cleaning products

Hygiene, toxins and health

Increase your energy

Injury, surgery and infection

Make your own home remedies

Nature cures for babies

Nature cures for pets

Obesity and how to lose weight

Pain and inflammation

Parasite and worms

Plea for cornea donations

Raw juice therapy

Shopping list

The human body

Virus infections

Nutrition

A-Z of minerals

A-Z of vitamins and organic nutrients

Amino acids

Anti-nutrients

Antioxidants and free radicals

Carbohydrates

Cleanse and detoxify

Electrolytes

Fatty acids

Food combinations

Food intolerances

Fibre

Nature's colour codes

Nutrient deficiencies

Prebiotics and probiotics

Protein

Sports nutrition

Starch

Vitamins

Food

A-Z of natural food and beverages

A-Z of medicinal herbs and spices

A-Z of root vegetables

Alcohol dangers

Ancient kitchen cures

Berries

Brassicas

Brine pickling

Butter v margarine

Calories in foods

Citrus fruit

Coffee and caffeine dangers

Daily essentials

Dairy

Dried fruit

Fish

Food allergies

Fruit

Nature Cures healthy recipes

Juicing recipes

Legumes

Meat

Nuts

Oily fish

Oils

Organ meats

Raw juice therapy

Salt in the diet

Seeds

Shellfish

Sprouting micro-diet

Sugar dangers

Teas

Vegetables

Whole Grains

Nature Cures

About Nature Cures and the author

Advertise on this website

Buy the Nature Cures books

Nature Cures news

Site map

Subscribe to the monthly newsletter

Terms of service

Contact

Website index

Home

 

DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is not intended to diagnose medical problems, prescribe remedies for illness, or treat disease. Its intention is solely educational. If you are in any doubt about your health, please consult your medical or health professional. Nature Cures does not warrant or assume any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of the information provided here or the outcome of using it. Nature Cures is not responsible for, and does not endorse, any content or items purchased from any external websites linked to this website. 

© Copyright 2010 Nature Cures. All rights reserved.

Email: health@naturecures.co.uk