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Citizens of Flint, Michigan, can reduce the effects of lead poisoning with proper nutrition

Lead poisoning

(NaturalNews) Officials who blew the whistle on lead-contaminated water in Flint, Michigan, say children had blood lead levels significantly higher than what US health officials regard as elevated, and that the state was aware children were being poisoned. Since childhood lead poisoning scarcely makes news headlines, many people are unaware that dietary interventions are often used to decrease lead poisoning in at-risk children.

Lead poisoning is a public health concern, particularly among children under the age of six. Lead is a naturally occurring neurotoxin. When consumed, it can cause behavioral changes. In severe cases, lead poisoning can cause brain damage and even death. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) acknowledge that there are no safe levels of lead.

Citizens of Flint, Michigan were exposed to toxic levels of lead when city officials decided to temporarily draw water from the Animas River to save money. Changing the water source corroded the pipes of the city, which caused lead in the pipes to contaminate the water. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was aware that the city was drawing water from a toxic source but failed to disclose that information to the public for months.

Now, Health Ranger Mike Adams has launched a new initiative to test America's water supply for toxic contaminants in the state-of-the-art Consumer Wellness Center laboratory. To find out how you can help make America's drinking water safety, click here.

How to reduce bodily lead absorption

Unfortunately, childhood lead poisoning isn't a problem bound to Flint, Michigan, but extends to the U.S. in general, particularly in heavily populated cities. Although the effects of lead poisoning are permanent, nutritious food is an excellent way to reduce the impact that lead poisoning can wreak on the body.

Why does a nutritious diet minimize the effects of lead poisoning? Because a diet low in nutritional quality can exacerbate health problems also associated with lead poisoning, including a short attention span, hyper activity, depression and potentially criminal behavior. In addition, a diet high in nutritional quality can help remove lead from the body. Unfortunately, little has been said about improving the health of Flint, Michigan, residents through nutritious food.

Health authorities urge parents to feed their children foods high in calcium, zinc and iron to help dispose lead from the body. Iron and lead compete with each other to be absorbed by the digestive system. An individual who consumes a diet rich in iron will absorb less lead. Sources of iron include lean red meat, chicken, turkey, fish, dark green leafy vegetables, dried beans, eggs and dried fruit.

Calcium can also help prevent lead absorption. Foods like milk, yogurt and cheese are an excellent source of calcium. Four servings of calcium-rich foods throughout the day is the standard recommendation; however, such recommendations vary depending on a child's age.

A nutritional deficiency of vitamin C has been shown to impact lead levels in the body too. According to a study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, participants with high levels of vitamin C had significantly less lead in their bloodstream than individuals with low levels of vitamin C. In particular, the results of the study showed that children with higher levels of vitamin C were 89 percent less likely to have elevated blood lead levels in comparison to children with low levels of vitamin C. Similar results held true with respect to adults. Sources of vitamin C include fruits like oranges, grapefruit, fruit juices and berries.

Children with elevated lead levels are also advised to keep a full stomach to prevent lead absorption. Lead is easily absorbed by an empty stomach. Switching to four or five small meals a day, or incorporating a couple of snacks into a child's diet, minimizes the amount of time a child's stomach is empty. As noted earlier, serving sizes vary depending on a child's size and age.

Meals high in fat and oils should also be avoided, since they help the body absorb lead more easily. It's particularly important for children between the ages of two and six with high lead levels to limit their fat intake. This can be achieved by switching to dairy products with lower fat contents, and substituting fried meats with grilled or baked meats.

Signs of lead poisoning

Symptoms of lead poisoning unfortunately do not become manifest until a child is very sick. Symptoms can include drowsiness, irritability, headache, decreased energy, constipation, stomachs cramps and sleeping issues, to name just a few. Regardless, the long-term consequences of lead exposure do not become manifest for years.

The Flint water crisis has provoked outrage among the American publicly, and rightly so. However, it also provides an opportunity to illustrate the healing power of food on a national level. Specifically, in order to med lead, children must be properly fed.

For information on how you can help citizen scientists protect American children from lead poisoning via drinking water, visit EPAwatch.org.

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