Higher Heavy Metals Probably Consumed By Vegans, Vegetarians & Flexitarians

 

Despite great unawareness, people primarily on plant-based diets (including vegans, vegetarians and even flexitarians) are likely to consume more heavy metals than people consuming primarily animal-based food products. In fact, a published study from Slovak Medical University in Czech Republic (2006), found in a group of healthy adults that the vegetarian group had significantly higher blood cadmium levels than those who were non-vegetarian(1). Additionally, the vegan sub-group within the vegetarians had even higher blood levels of cadmium. The authors note that vegetarians’ significantly higher blood levels of antioxidants are likely to offset any negative or harmful effects of greater cadmium intake from plant food.

These findings are not surprising considering the major source of exposure for cadmium is terrestrial foods, those grown directly in the soil (2). However, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) agree that only 2-6% of cadmium ingested is taken into the body. This is a significantly smaller absorption than when cadmium is inhaled (30-64%). This is probably because various factors impact the absorption and retention of heavy metals in the body.

Did you know items you consume and purchase on a regular basis in the grocery store contain heavy metals? The FDA has listed the average content of heavy metals in common food items:

 

Average content of Heavy Metals in Common Foods3

FOOD

ARSENIC

(ppb)

LEAD

(ppb)

CADMIUM

(ppb)

Apple (red), raw (w/ peel)

-

-

2

Orange (navel/Valencia), raw

-

1

1

Banana, raw

-

-

1

Watermelon, raw/frozen

-

-

2

Peach, raw/frozen

-

1

2

Strawberries, raw/frozen

1

1

17

Grapes (red/green), raw

3

2

1

Cantaloupe, raw/frozen

8

1

8

Peanuts, dry roasted, salted

14

-

54

Sunflower seeds (shelled),roasted, salted

-

-

412

Raisins

14

9

3

Pepper, sweet, green, raw

-

-

16

Carrot, fresh, peeled, boiled

-

1

19

Onion, mature, raw

 

2

14

Cauliflower, fresh/frozen, boiled

-

-

10

Asparagus, fresh/frozen, boiled

-

1

19

Celery, raw

-

-

40

Broccoli, fresh/frozen, boiled

-

-

7

Cabbage, fresh, boiled

-

-

5

Lettuce, leaf, raw

2

5

64

Spinach, fresh/frozen, boiled

1

3

124

Collards, fresh/frozen, boiled

3

3

35

Cucumber, peeled, raw

11

-

3

Potato, baked (w/ peel)

2

1

26

Avocado, raw

1

2

15

Tomato, raw

1

-

8

Mushrooms, raw

73

1

5

Eggplant, fresh, peeled, boiled

1

-

12

Pinto beans, dry, boiled

-

-

3

Lima beans, immature, frozen,boiled

-

-

1

Peas, green, frozen, boiled

-

-

3

Honey

-

4

1

Wine, dry table, red/ white

1

8

 

Rice, white, enriched, cooked

65

-

7

Corn, fresh/frozen, boiled

1

-

3

Cream of wheat (farina), enriched,cooked

1

-

5

Shredded wheat cereal

-

-

50

Granola w/ raisins

21

-

14

Oatmeal, plain, cooked

2

-

2

Bread, rye

-

1

14

Bread, whole wheat

2

1

24

Bread, cracked wheat

3

4

22

Bread, white, enriched

1

1

21

Bagel, plain, toasted

1

1

16

Crackers, graham

4

5

28


Read about the natural occurrence on the Earth's crust here.

Read about ways your body can naturally "detox" itself from these heavy metals here.

References:
1. Krajcovicova et al. Cadmium blood concentrations in relation to nutrition. Cent Eur J Publ Health. 2006; 14(3): 126-129
2. "Cadmium exposure and human health." International Cadmium Association. Available at: http://www.cadmium.org/pg_n.php?id_menu=5
3. Total diet study statistics on element results. Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, US Food and Drug Administration. 2010. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/downloads/food...totaldietstudy/ucm184301.pdf


Axiom Foods Quality Section

Axiom Foods Studies Section