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Topic summary contributed by volunteer(s): Selena

Cadmium is a toxic heavy metal that accumulates in our bodies over time and may contribute to heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and infertility in men. It is found in cigarette smoke, seafood (particularly tuna), meat and organ meats, some protein powders, as well as in vegetables and whole grains. The bioavailability of cadmium in plant foods, however, is poor compared to animal foods. In fact, it appears that plant foods may inhibit cadmium absorption from animal foods; cadmium levels have been shown to drop significantly by switching to a vegetarian diet. Organic produce may contain half the amount of cadmium found in conventional produce (likely due to commercial fertilizers), suggesting that switching to an organic, plant-based diet may provide the least exposure to this metal.

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