Glutathione and Mercury Toxicity in HFCS – High Fructose Corn Syrup

The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy’s (IATP) press release January 26, 2009 revealed that mercury was found in nearly 50% of tested samples of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) as reported by IATP. IATP detected mercury in almost one-third of brand name foods and beverages.

I am not trying to alarm you. I only want to increase your awareness so that you look at food labels. You may want to make another choice if you see high fructose corn syrup as an ingredient.

According to the IATP high fructose corn syrup has replaced sugar in many sweetened beverages, breads, cereals, breakfast bars, lunch meats, yogurts and soups. According to the IATP Americans consume 12 teaspoons per day of HFCS; teenagers and others can consume up to 80% above average!

According to the CDC “exposure to mercury occurs from breathing contaminated air, ingesting contaminated water and food, and having dental and medical treatments.”

The CDC states that the most common one, methylmercury, is produced mainly by microscopic organisms in the water and soil. More mercury in the environment can increase the amounts of methylmercury that these small organisms make.

Exposure to high levels of metallic, inorganic, or organic mercury can permanently damage the brain, kidneys, and developing fetus. Effects on brain functioning may result in irritability, shyness, tremors, changes in vision or hearing, and memory problems.

Short-term exposure to high levels of metallic mercury vapors may cause effects including lung damage, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, increases in blood pressure or heart rate, skin rashes, and eye irritation.

Glutathione and glutathione-related enzymes are important antioxidants in the role of detoxifying the body to heavy metals such as cadmium, lead, iron and mercury. Heavy metals have the potential to disrupt the biological activities of proteins. Glutathione supplementation can halt the damage that was created my exposure to these metals (Shulka et al. 1988; Turan et al. 1992; Sidhu et al. 1993; Tang et al.1998; Tjalkens et al. 1998; Shaikh et al. 1999). Glutathione also assists the liver in detoxifying toxins. Vitamin C assists glutathione in maintaining the oxidative balance.

Whether we like it or not, pollutants including heavy metals are a part of our daily lives. We need to be aware of this more than ever.

Glutathione and its related enzymes are keys in the detoxification process.

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