Understanding Arsenic and Why it Matters

Arsenic and heavy metals are all around us! Water is really our greatest source of arsenic, and the EPA keeps raising the acceptable level since it is costly and difficult to extract from the water. Another huge source of arsenic is white rice. Yes, that’s right, white rice is high in arsenic and washing the rice does not help, in fact it increases the content. Arsenic in food is found 100% of the time in these fish: haddock, tuna, shrimp, fast food fish on a bun, fried rice as well as baby food rice cereal. Salmon, clam chowder and mushrooms also seem to be big sources. Chicken is worth eating organic with somewhere around 20-40% showing up with arsenic.

Why should we be concerned with arsenic? It affects mostly the gastrointestinal tract and the respiratory system. The symptoms are vague since it can affect general function, oxidative damage and ability to detox. In my practice, I also see an association with anxiety. We also see it connected to cancers of the lung and some chronic disease like diabetes and heart risk. This isn’t really surprising since cancer prevention is really less toxins. Since we know lungs are affected, we can also expect to see some chronic sinusitis, sore throats, stuffy noses, cough, dyspnea, asthma and COPD (or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). We may even see arsenic symptoms such as eye irritation and headaches since high arsenic load patients are more likely to have these than a control group.

Testing involves the first morning urine and can be a good way to monitor patients when treatment has begun whether chelation, methylation or otherwise. Testing well water is important as well. The goal is to prevent chronic disease, organ damage such as hepatomegaly and lung damage as well as slowly see symptoms improve.

Intention of this blog is to raise awareness of the impact of arsenic on our population and how it affects health. This blog is NOT to encourage the individual to undergo the complicated process of chelation therapy or supporting a detox process from being ill from a heavy metal on their own. This complex process should be supported by a naturopathic doctor or other practitioner who is educated in the process; who can get you started and see you through the process.

Contact our office about your options for testing for arsenic or other heavy metals.
Journey of Health Medical Clinic
(619) 772-1164

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