May 5, 2016

Arsenic

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How does Arsenic work?

Arsenic is a trace element that occurs naturally in very small amounts in the diet. Its exact functions are not known. The estimated adult daily intake of arsenic from a typical diet is 12-50 mcg. A dietary requirement of 12-25 mcg/day has been suggested.

In leukemia, arsenic trioxide increases death of cancer cells.

Are there safety concerns?

Arsenic is LIKELY SAFE when eaten in normal food amounts. The form of arsenic found naturally in foods (organic arsenic) does not seem to cause any harm.at a level of 50 mcg/L has been linked to reduced scores on intelligence tests in children.

Also, arsenic trioxide (Trisenox) is LIKELY SAFE when given intravenously (by IV) to adults by a healthcare provider. It is an FDA-approved prescription drug.

Other forms of arsenic (inorganic arsenic) are LIKELY UNSAFE when taken by mouth. These forms can be very poisonous, even in small doses. Don't take arsenic supplements. Taking 10 mcg/kg/day over a period of time can produce symptoms of arsenic poisoning. Taking 5 mg of arsenic, or sometimes less, can cause digestive tract symptoms. Higher doses can cause severe poisoning and death. Inorganic arsenic is classified as a human cancer-causing agent.

Laws have been made to regulate the amount of arsenic that is allowed in the water supply. The maximum permissible level of arsenic in drinking water is 10 mcg/L. Long-term exposure to arsenic in drinking water at a level of 50 mcg/L has been linked to reduced scores on intelligence tests in children.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Children: Arsenic is LIKELY SAFE when eaten by children in normal food amounts. The form of arsenic found naturally in foods (organic arsenic) does not seem to cause any harm. Other forms of arsenic (inorganic arsenic) are LIKELY UNSAFE for children when taken by mouth. Long-term exposure to arsenic in drinking water at a level of 50 mcg/L has been linked to reduced scores on intelligence tests in children.

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Arsenic is LIKELY SAFE when eaten in normal food amounts by women who are pregnant or breast-feeding. However, other forms of arsenic (inorganic arsenic) are LIKELY UNSAFE when taken by mouth by women who are pregnant or breast-feeding. Arsenic has been linked to birth defects and other serious harm in animals. Do not take arsenic supplements if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.

Low levels of folic acid (folic acid deficiency): There is some evidence that folic acid deficiency changes the way the body processes and removes arsenic and may contribute to higher arsenic levels.

Heart problems: The prescription form of arsenic (arsenic trioxide, Trisenox) can affect heart rhythm in some patients.


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