Published: Mon, February 20, 2017
Health Care | By Kelly Miles

Going gluten-free might increase risk of arsenic, mercury exposure, study finds

Going gluten-free might increase risk of arsenic, mercury exposure, study finds

The weighted geometric mean concentration of estimated urinary total arsenic, defined as total arsenic minus arsenobetaine and arsenocholine, was almost two-fold higher for those on a gluten-free diet (geometric mean ratio, 1.9), after adjustment for sociodemographic characteristics and urinary creatinine.

Maria Argos, assistant professor of epidemiology at the UIC School of Public Health and one of the study authors, says, "In Europe, there are regulations for food-based arsenic exposure, and perhaps that is something we here in the United States need to consider". Rice flour is a common wheat substitute. Rice has a reputation for soaking up metals from soil, fertilizer and water - mercury and arsenic among them. This ingredient is used for most of the gluten free products available on the market. More precisely, rice flour usually accumulates toxic metals which increase the risk of neurological illness, heart disease, and cancer.

The team surveyed around 7,480 people on their eating habits. Mercury levels were a shocking 70 percent higher in gluten-free participants, and arsenic levels were found to be almost twice the normal amount.

They ranged from between six and 80 years old and had all reported eating gluten-free food over a period of five years.

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Also, those who followed gluten-free diets had a seventy percent higher level of mercury in their bodies, while the arsenic level was two times higher compared to the participants who consumed regular food.

Many people believe that gluten free food reduces inflammation but no scientific proof shows that.

In the meantime, if you are truly gluten intolerant-and you should check with your doctor; don't just decide you are because your tummy gets upset sometimes-eat products that are labeled organic, which are grown without heavy pesticides or herbicides and therefore (in theory) lessen your risk of ingesting toxic metals. Poor ol' gluten has been blamed for everything from bloating and depression to gas, acne, and brain fog. You know: Real food, and not manufactured crap from a box. Celebrities such as Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga, and Gwyneth Paltrow have all sworn by these diets as tools for improving health and weight loss.

Researchers at the University of IL in Chicago state that rice flour, which these diets use as a substitute for wheat, usually accumulates toxic metals that can lead to heightened risks for cancer, heart disease and neurological illnesses, Fox News reports. And of course, that's fine; whatever anyone eats is their own business, whether they've received a diagnosis that makes eating gluten free a necessity or whether they simply choose to forgo gluten because they feel better doing so.

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