Healing from past Lead Damage

Healing from past Lead Damage in Adults and prevention in Children

Human bodies take the lead from our blood and store almost all of it in our bones and teeth where it does much less harm. The history of lead exposures throughout our life stays pretty much locked away in our bones, except in three times in our lives when the bones are in transition, and when calcium and lead in our bones re-enter the blood stream: pregnancy, nursing, and aging (osteoporosis).

Controlled studies have shown that pregnant or nursing women who take extra calcium end up with less lead in their blood – and in their babies. Another study even showed newborns whose mothers had at least 7 glasses of milk a week ended up with lower lead levels at birth.

You might we be able to lower blood lead levels by eating chia seeds, or going for a walk outside, or enjoying a spinach salad, or playing a vigorous game of tennis, or opting for iced tea instead of cola, or choosing the pasta sauce with lower sodium, or asking those who smoke to smoke outside. You can talk to your Pediatrician about all options available.

We want to do what we can to keep our calcium (and lead) locked in our bones. I suspect that other measures proven to keep our bones strong will also protect us from lead. These are my strong hunches, not tested yet for lead as far as I know (someone please do this!).

Suggestions for protecting you from past lead exposures:

1. Be sure to get lots of calcium each day.
2. Be sure to get plenty of magnesium in your diet.
3. Take plenty of vitamin D.
4. Be sure you’re getting plenty of vitamin K in your diet.
5. Be sure to get weight-bearing exercise.
6. Avoid too much soda.
7. Avoid too much sodium.
8. Avoid cigarette smoke.

For Our Children, all eight suggestions are even more important for children themselves. They tend to be more susceptible and have more to lose from lead, and they have bones that are more actively modeling and remodeling.

Children need:

1. Calcium – 800 mg from 4 to 8 – 1300 mg from 9 to 18
2. Magnesium – 130 mg from 4 to 8 – 240 mg from 9 to 13
3. Vitamin D 400 IU
4. Vitamin K – 55 mcg from 4 to 8 – 60 mcg from 9 to 13
5. At least an hour a day of active play
5. Even less soda!
6. Even less sodium – and certainly never more than 1900 mg a day
7. No exposure to second or third hand smoke.

Most kids don’t get enough calcium or vitamin D. Many don’t get enough active play. And far too many get too much soda, sodium, and exposure to tobacco. We can’t change the past but can control the future for our kids and can change the effects of the past.

Reference: “Dietary Calcium Supplementation to Lower Blood Lead Levels in Pregnancy and Lactation.” Journal of Nutrition Biochemistry , Mar 2007, 18(3):172-178 Ettinger, A.S., Hu, H., and Hernandez-Avila, M.

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