(NaturalNews) A powdery substance used to pull impurities out of beer and make it clear for consumption could be a major source of heavy metal contamination. New research presented at the 245th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS) has identified diatomaceous earth, which is used by some breweries in the processing and filtration of commercial beer, as a source of arsenic and other toxins.
Researchers first discovered the anomaly after observing high levels of arsenic in beer samples collected throughout Germany. Levels of arsenic and other contaminants were found to be higher in the beer samples than in the water used to make the beer, suggesting that something else along the way was introducing these toxins. As it turns out, a common filtration technology is to blame.
According to a recent announcement by ScienceDaily.com, Mehmet Coelhan, Ph.D., and his colleagues detected arsenic at high levels in many of the 140 German beers they tested. After looking at the hops, grains and other ingredients and coming up with nothing, they narrowed down the search to diatomaceous earth, the fossilized remains of ancient algae that can function as a filtration method. When improperly used, this substance can introduce heavy metals into the end product.
"When arsenic level in beer is higher than in the water used during brewing, this excess arsenic must come from other sources," stated Coelhan. "That was a mystery to us. As a consequence, we analyzed all materials, including the malt and the hops used during brewing for the presence of arsenic."
Commercial beers from other countries also test positive for arsenic
While German beers were the primary types identified in this latest research, Coelhan and his team were sure to point out that arsenic has also been identified in beers tested from at least six other countries. In fact, research published roughly four years ago found arsenic in substantially higher amounts in these other beers, suggesting widespread contamination.
"We concluded that kieselguhr [the German name for diatomaceous earth] may be a significant source of arsenic contamination in beer," stated Coelhan. "This conclusion was supported by analysis of kieselguhr samples. These tests revealed that some kieselguhr samples release arsenic."
Though the levels identified are still generally low and considered to be within the official government thresholds for safety, it is becoming apparent that arsenic and other heavy metals are not fully purged by the body, even when taken in at low levels. This means that perpetual exposure can lead to toxic accumulation, something that is often ignored during scientific inquiry.
"Chronic or lower levels of exposure can lead to progressive peripheral and central nervous changes, such as sensory changes, numbness and tingling, and muscle tenderness," explains a report by the Life Extension Foundation (LEF) about heavy metal toxicity.
If these or other symptoms of heavy metal toxicity are already present, there are ways you can help eliminate them from the body to avoid developing chronic disease. Chelating agents like micronized clinoptilolite zeolite, for instance, can be taken orally to help expel heavy metals from the blood and gastrointestinal tract. Detoxifying nutrients like vitamins C and E have also been shown to be effective.
"Unrecognized or untreated toxicity will likely result in illness and reduced quality of life," adds the report. "Testing is essential if you suspect you or someone in your household might have heavy metal toxicity."
To learn more, be sure to read the full LEF report, "Heavy Metal Toxicity," here: http://www.lef.org.