Best Food for Lead Poisoning – Garlic

Best Food for Lead Poisoning – Garlic
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Are there any benefits of garlic powder for treating mild-to-moderate lead poisoning?

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Dietary strategies for the treatment of lead toxicity are often based on rodent studies. However, for tofu at least, there was a population study of people, showing lower lead levels in men and women who ate more tofu. They controlled for a whole bunch of factors. So, it’s not like tofu lovers were protected just because they smoked less, or ate less meat. But, you can’t control for everything.

Ideally, what we’d have is a randomized, placebo-controlled study. Take a group of people exposed to lead, split them up into two groups; half get the food, half get some kind of identical placebo food, and see what happens. Easy to do with drugs—you can just use look-alike sugar pills as placebos; so, people don’t know which group they’re in.

But how do you make placebo food? One way to do disguised food interventions is to use foods that are so potent they can be stuffed in a pill, like garlic. There had been various studies on the effects of garlic in rats, and as a potential antidote for lead intoxication distributed among different mouse organs. But who eats mouse organs? This animal study had some direct human relevance, though: the “[e]ffect of garlic on lead content in chicken tissues.” To “explore the possible use[s] of garlic to clean up lead contents [in] chickens, which [like all of us on planet Earth] had been exposed to lead pollution,” in hopes we can “minimize the hazard of lead-[polluted chicken meat].”

And, it worked! Feeding garlic to chickens reduces lead levels in the “edible mass” of the chicken by up to 75% or more. Even if you don’t give them lead, raise them on distilled water, they end up with some lead in their meat and giblets; we just live in such a polluted world. But, actively feed them lead for a week, and the levels get really high. But, give them the same amount of lead with a little garlic added, give them some garlicky lead, and much less lead accumulates in their bodies.

Okay, but here’s the crazy part. Same amount of lead, but this time, you wait a week, and then give the garlic. And it worked even better. “The value of garlic in reducing lead concentrations…was more pronounced when…given” afterwards, after the lead was stopped, after the lead had already built up in the tissues. See, we used to think that “the beneficial effect[s] of garlic against lead toxicity was primarily due to a reaction between lead and sulphur compounds in [the] garlic” that would glom onto the lead in the intestinal tract, and flush it out of the body. But, what this study showed is that garlic appears to contain compounds that can actually pull lead, not just out of the intestinal contents, but out of the tissues of the body. So, “[t]he results indicate that garlic contain[s] chelating compounds capable of enhancing elimination of lead.” So, “garlic feeding can be exploited to safeguard human consumers by minimizing lead concentrations in meat…”

But if garlic is so effective at pulling lead out of chickens’ bodies, why not exploit garlic feeding more directly, by eating it ourselves? Well, there had never been a study on the ability of garlic to help lead-exposed humans—until now.

Actually, I’m embarrassed to say, the study was published back in 2012, but I missed it. That was when I was just setting up NutritionFacts.org, getting it up and running. Now that we have a staff, and a whole research team, hopefully important studies like this won’t slip through the cracks in the future.

But, here we go, a head-to-head comparison of the therapeutic effects of garlic versus a chelation therapy drug called D-penicillamine. A hundred and seventeen workers exposed to lead in the car battery industry were randomly assigned into one of two groups: the drug three times a day, or an eighth of a teaspoon of garlic powder compressed into a tablet, three times a day. That’s about the equivalent of two cloves of fresh garlic a day, for a month. As expected, the chelation drug reduced blood lead levels by about 20%—but, so did the garlic. The garlic worked just as well as the drug and, of course, had fewer side effects. Thus, “garlic seems safer…and as effective.” But, saying something is as effective as chelation therapy isn’t saying much. Remember how, for chronic lead poisoning, chelation drugs can lower blood levels, but don’t actually improve neurological function?

Okay, are you ready? This is where it gets amazing.

Significant clinical improvements were seen in the garlic group: less irritability, fewer headaches, improvements in their reflexes and blood pressure after treatment with garlic—but not the drug. So, garlic was safer and more effective. “Therefore, garlic can be recommended for the treatment of mild-to-moderate lead poisoning.”

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Icons created by Gan Khoon Lay, Thomas Helbig, Creative Stall and Xinh Studio from the Noun Project.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video

Image credit: Good Free Photos. Image has been modified

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Dietary strategies for the treatment of lead toxicity are often based on rodent studies. However, for tofu at least, there was a population study of people, showing lower lead levels in men and women who ate more tofu. They controlled for a whole bunch of factors. So, it’s not like tofu lovers were protected just because they smoked less, or ate less meat. But, you can’t control for everything.

Ideally, what we’d have is a randomized, placebo-controlled study. Take a group of people exposed to lead, split them up into two groups; half get the food, half get some kind of identical placebo food, and see what happens. Easy to do with drugs—you can just use look-alike sugar pills as placebos; so, people don’t know which group they’re in.

But how do you make placebo food? One way to do disguised food interventions is to use foods that are so potent they can be stuffed in a pill, like garlic. There had been various studies on the effects of garlic in rats, and as a potential antidote for lead intoxication distributed among different mouse organs. But who eats mouse organs? This animal study had some direct human relevance, though: the “[e]ffect of garlic on lead content in chicken tissues.” To “explore the possible use[s] of garlic to clean up lead contents [in] chickens, which [like all of us on planet Earth] had been exposed to lead pollution,” in hopes we can “minimize the hazard of lead-[polluted chicken meat].”

And, it worked! Feeding garlic to chickens reduces lead levels in the “edible mass” of the chicken by up to 75% or more. Even if you don’t give them lead, raise them on distilled water, they end up with some lead in their meat and giblets; we just live in such a polluted world. But, actively feed them lead for a week, and the levels get really high. But, give them the same amount of lead with a little garlic added, give them some garlicky lead, and much less lead accumulates in their bodies.

Okay, but here’s the crazy part. Same amount of lead, but this time, you wait a week, and then give the garlic. And it worked even better. “The value of garlic in reducing lead concentrations…was more pronounced when…given” afterwards, after the lead was stopped, after the lead had already built up in the tissues. See, we used to think that “the beneficial effect[s] of garlic against lead toxicity was primarily due to a reaction between lead and sulphur compounds in [the] garlic” that would glom onto the lead in the intestinal tract, and flush it out of the body. But, what this study showed is that garlic appears to contain compounds that can actually pull lead, not just out of the intestinal contents, but out of the tissues of the body. So, “[t]he results indicate that garlic contain[s] chelating compounds capable of enhancing elimination of lead.” So, “garlic feeding can be exploited to safeguard human consumers by minimizing lead concentrations in meat…”

But if garlic is so effective at pulling lead out of chickens’ bodies, why not exploit garlic feeding more directly, by eating it ourselves? Well, there had never been a study on the ability of garlic to help lead-exposed humans—until now.

Actually, I’m embarrassed to say, the study was published back in 2012, but I missed it. That was when I was just setting up NutritionFacts.org, getting it up and running. Now that we have a staff, and a whole research team, hopefully important studies like this won’t slip through the cracks in the future.

But, here we go, a head-to-head comparison of the therapeutic effects of garlic versus a chelation therapy drug called D-penicillamine. A hundred and seventeen workers exposed to lead in the car battery industry were randomly assigned into one of two groups: the drug three times a day, or an eighth of a teaspoon of garlic powder compressed into a tablet, three times a day. That’s about the equivalent of two cloves of fresh garlic a day, for a month. As expected, the chelation drug reduced blood lead levels by about 20%—but, so did the garlic. The garlic worked just as well as the drug and, of course, had fewer side effects. Thus, “garlic seems safer…and as effective.” But, saying something is as effective as chelation therapy isn’t saying much. Remember how, for chronic lead poisoning, chelation drugs can lower blood levels, but don’t actually improve neurological function?

Okay, are you ready? This is where it gets amazing.

Significant clinical improvements were seen in the garlic group: less irritability, fewer headaches, improvements in their reflexes and blood pressure after treatment with garlic—but not the drug. So, garlic was safer and more effective. “Therefore, garlic can be recommended for the treatment of mild-to-moderate lead poisoning.”

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Icons created by Gan Khoon Lay, Thomas Helbig, Creative Stall and Xinh Studio from the Noun Project.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video

Image credit: Good Free Photos. Image has been modified

Doctor's Note

Isn’t that amazing? I’m sorry it took me so long to discover this study. As I said earlier, thanks to your support, and our amazing staff and volunteers, hopefully such landmark studies won’t fall through the cracks in the future. If you want to be a part of unearthing and spreading this research to the world, you can donate to the 501c3 nonprofit organization that runs NutritionFacts.org by clicking Donate above or going directly to https://nutritionfacts.org/donate/.

Check out my other videos that focus on not getting exposed to lead in the first place:

And here are videos on cutting down on lead absorption:

Some of my other videos on lead include:

And what about lead levels in women? See:

What else can garlic do? Check out:

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

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