Gluten-free Diet May Increase Risk of Arsenic, Mercury Exposure
Celiac.com 02/14/2017 – People who eat a gluten-free diet may be at risk for increased exposure to arsenic and mercury – toxic metals that can lead to cardiovascular disease, cancer and neurological effects, according to a report in the journal Epidemiology.
Gluten-free diets have become popular in the U.S., although less than 1 percent of Americans have been diagnosed with celiac disease – an out-of-control immune response to gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye and barley.
A gluten-free diet is recommended for people with celiac disease, but others often say they prefer eating gluten-free because it reduces inflammation – a claim that has not been scientifically proven. In 2015, one-quarter of Americans reported eating gluten-free, a 67 percent increase from 2013.
Gluten-free products often contain rice flour as a substitute for wheat. Rice is known to bioaccumulate certain toxic metals, including arsenic and mercury from fertilizers, soil, or water, but little is known about the health effects of diets high in rice content.
Maria Argos, assistant professor of epidemiology in the UIC School of Public Health, and her colleagues looked at data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey searching for a link between gluten-free diet and biomarkers of toxic metals in blood and urine.
They found 73 participants who reported eating a gluten-free diet among the 7,471 who completed the survey, between 2009 and 2014. Participants ranged in age from 6 to 80 years old.
People who reported eating gluten-free had higher concentrations of arsenic in their urine, and mercury in their blood, than those who did not. The arsenic levels were almost twice as high for people eating a gluten-free diet, and mercury levels were 70 percent higher.
“These results indicate that there could be unintended consequences of eating a gluten-free diet,” Argos said. “But until we perform the studies to determine if there are corresponding health consequences that could be related to higher levels of exposure to arsenic and mercury by eating gluten-free, more research is needed before we can determine whether this diet poses a significant health risk.”
“In Europe, there are regulations for food-based arsenic exposure, and perhaps that is something we here in the United States need to consider,” Argos said. “We regulate levels of arsenic in water, but if rice flour consumption increases the risk for exposure to arsenic, it would make sense to regulate the metal in foods as well.”
Catherine Bulka of UIC; Matthew Davis of the University of Michigan; Margaret Karagas of Dartmouth University; and Habibul Ahsan of the University of Chicago are co-authors on the paper.
This research was supported by National Institutes of Health grants R01 ES024423, R21 ES024834, R01 CA107431, P42 ES010349 and T32 HL125294.
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In 1994 I was diagnosed with celiac disease, which led me to create Celiac.com in 1995. I created this site for a single purpose: To help as many people as possible with celiac disease get diagnosed so they can begin to live happy, healthy gluten-free lives. Celiac.com was the first site on the Internet dedicated solely to celiac disease. In 1998 I founded The Gluten-Free Mall, Your Special Diet Superstore!, and I am the co-author of the book Cereal Killers, and founder and publisher of Journal of Gluten Sensitivity.
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And the people that put wheat in Walkers crips ready salted will be first against the wall…
Reading the lindt section they have that ambiguity on barley malt extract from coeliac uk. That winds me up, I got ill from barley malt in cereal in part because coeliac uk were so relaxed about it. I was eating harvest morn corn flakes with barley malt because they;d been in the guide, then I got ill and then found theyd been removed in the new guide. Now I avoid all of it of course and feel a bit foolish for being so blase
I also seem to have misread the post linked to above, regular snickers bars are not ok It’s why I like toblerone, theres no ambiguity all their stuff is ok.
I am ever so sorry for posting again. Previously, I posted about having a positive anti-ttg test. I had a colonoscopy but the preparation for this didn’t go very well at all. I have had a history of bowel problems that have gone on for a while and the Gastroentrologist diagnosed it as just being IBS. I was previously tested for Celiac even when I was 18 years of age and am now in my thirties and was negative until now.
My appointment to see the Gastroentrologist is due for next week and wondered if I could ask for some guidance at all. Usually, on a morning I have bread (2 slices) with nutella on and on weekends have been having sandwiches. Over the last couple two weeks, I have been trying to eat as much as I can but have been having a gurgling sensation and severe constipation and then diarrhoea. I was wondering if what I am consuming food wise is still enough for it to be detected? This is the closest I have ever got to an answer to my bowel problems and I am significantly underweight now as I only weight around 8 stone 4 and should be around 10 or 11 stone.
I wondered if the Gastroentrologist can diagnose it based on my symptoms and blood test now or whether I will still have to go through with an endoscopy as I was told there is a huge waiting list for this at my current hospital.
I also have pernicious anemia that came up unexplained years back when I started having bowel problems and my Mom also has this and has also recently been diagnosed with diabetes. I am not sure if this information is relevant though but she was told that diabetes is an auto-immune disease.
Thank you to everyone on this forum and for the support given to me already.
I get my blood tests ordered from an online site that has Labcorp do the tests. Not sure if I’m allowed to give the url on here. So if your doctor says no then order them yourself. If positive then give the results to your doc.
Just describe your symptoms, say that someone has suggested you get your blood sugar levels checked and they shouldn’t have a problem with it.
Fwiw, I thought I was either diabetic or pre diabetic and had blood sugars done several times. The constant water drinking / urination, heavy sweats, shakiness, light headedness etc all went with the gluten.
Keep a food journal, it’s the best way of tracking down what is affecting you. ESPECIALLY if you suffer from brain fog as its really easy to lose track or to forget how you were feeling a few days ago. Just short entries, what you eat, what time and how you feel.
Published at Tue, 14 Feb 2017 08:00:00 +0000