Arsenic, Vitamin A, and blood cancer

Arsenic poisoning in Bangladesh and West Bengal (India) drinking water is a well-known issue in the last many years. Arsenic is a poisonous metalloid that naturally occurs in soils, and is soluble in water.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) upto 0.01 mg/l of Arsenic is safe in drinking water. Above this value can cause health problems including skin lesions, respiratory problems, – health issues arising from arsenic poisoning from drinking water are collectively known as ‘arsenicosis’. British Geological Survey’s (BGS) point- source maps show arsenic concentrations in Bangladesh groundwater between less than 0.25 µg/l and 1.66 mg/l.

Concerning the health crisis in Bangladesh, WHO assessed that,

‘The most commonly manifested disease so far is skin lesions. Over the next decade, skin and internal cancers are likely to become the principal human health concern arising from arsenic.’

So …….. ‘Cancer’ – it can be caused by arsenic, and now researchers found that cancer (blood cancer or leukaemia) can be treated successfully with a combination of Vitamin A and Arsenic.

Doctors treated patients for an average of 70 months (almost 6 years) and of those treated 94% (80 out of 85) did not develop secondary cancers and no associated health problems (heart or lungs) were encountered.

That means arsenic is not the villain always. It can come as a rescuer of our life as well. Humm…….

According to Oregon Department of Human Services, foods may contain 10 to 100 microgram(µg) of arsenic/kilogram(Kg), and the normal dietary intake of arsenic is about 25 to 50 microgram(µg)/day. GreenFacts states that, plants and animals in the sea contain arsenic from a range of less than 1 to more than 100 mg/kg. However, some seafood contains substantially high amount of arsenic that can be very poisonous, such as what the Japanese researchers found in brown algae ‘Hijiki’. Nevertheless sea foods are good sources of arsenic.

Now where to find Vitamin A: carrots, eggs, leafy vegetables, butter, spinach, liver, and a lot more other foods. Multivitamins are other sources of Vitamin A.

So, now let’s be ‘healthy, wealthy and wise’.

It’s better to be rich and healthy rather than poor and weak 🙂 .

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