And the Boron shaker while you are at it…
The Poison Is In The Dose
A very very true thing, most often observed in the ignoring of it. From water and salt, both essential to life, but lethal in too high a dose, to radiation and now arsenic; both flat out poisons in almost all minds, yet close observation shows radiation in small doses results in fewer deaths and now arsenic is showing up in normal metabolism.
All things tend to the continuum in nutrition. We evolved in a soup bowl of volcanic mud full of all sorts of “evil” things, and found ways to have them not hurt us, and in some cases put them to work inside our cells. Just sometimes in very tiny amounts.
Oh, and kudos for Hamsters… boldly going where no human has gone before…
Magnes Trace Elem. 1990;9(4):227-32.
Effects of arsenic deprivation in hamsters.
1United States Department of Agriculture, Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center, Grand Forks.
An experiment was conducted to ascertain the effects of arsenic deprivation in hamsters. Male weanling Golden Syrian hamsters were fed a casein-corn-based diet containing approximately 12 ng arsenic/g. Controls were fed 1 microgram arsenic/g of diet, as Na2HAsO4.7 H2O. After 6 weeks arsenic deprivation elevated heart weight/body weight ratio and the concentration of liver zinc and decreased the concentrations of the plasma amino acids alanine, glycine, phenylalanine and taurine. Although no biological role has been found for arsenic, the findings indicate that the hamster is a suitable animal for arsenic deprivation studies and support the hypothesis that arsenic may have a physiological role that influences methionine/methyl metabolism.
Note the sizes here. nano-grams is deprivation. micro-grams is not. Grams? Don’t go there…
Now hamsters are not people, and one feeding study is not a metabolic elucidation… so what else is there?
More Critters and Wide Species Range
Environ Geochem Health. 1992 Jun;14(2):55-8. doi: 10.1007/BF01783629.
Evidence for arsenic essentiality.
1United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center, University Station, PO Box 7166, 58202-7166, Grand Forks, ND, USA.
Although numerous studies with rats, hamsters, minipigs, goats and chicks have indicated that arsenic is an essential nutrient, the physiological role of arsenic is open to conjecture. Recent studies have suggested that arsenic has a physiological role that affects the formation of various metabolites of methionine metabolism including taurine and the polyamines. The concentration of plasma taurine is decreased in arsenic-deprived rats and hamsters. The hepatic concentration of polyamines and the specific activity of an enzyme necessary for the synthesis of spermidine and spermine, S-adenosylmethionine decarboxylase, are also decreased in arsenic-deprived rats. Thus, evidence has been obtained which indicates that arsenic is of physiological importance, especially when methionine metabolism is stressed (e.g. pregnancy, lactation, methionine deficiency, vitamin B6 deprivation). Any possible nutritional requirement by humans can be estimated only by using data from animal studies. The arsenic requirement for growing chicks and rats has been suggested to be near 25 ng g(-1) diet. Thus, a possible human requirement is 12 μg day(-1). The reported arsenic content of diets from various parts of the world indicates that the average intake of arsenic is in the range of 12-40 μg. Fish, grain and cereal products contribute most arsenic to the diet.
For anyone wondering, yes, spermidine was first found in sperm and is important in a bunch of cellular functions. Oh, and it might make for a longer lifespan…
Sperm, Grapefruit Slow Aging
Spermidine found to increase lifespans of fruit flies, worms
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted Oct 8, 2009 1:25 AM CDT
(Newser) – The fountain of youth may be filled with grapefruit and human sperm, according to Austrian researchers. The scientists found that spermidine, a chemical compound abundant in both sperm and grapefruit, increased longevity by around a third in fruit flies and worms when it was added to their diet. Human immune cells also lived longer when cultured in the compound. The spermidine slowed the aging process by making cellular processes more efficient, according to researchers.
So if you would live longer, eat your grapefruit and get enough arsenic via fish and grains… (And no caustic remarks about young looking hot older women, ok? This article is about arsenic… and we don’t want them using it in quantity, now do we?…)
Now I also note in passing that cats don’t eat a lot of grapefruit and grains, and those who can’t fish don’t get much fish. So cats might tend to naturally be low in arsenic. Cats also can’t make their own taurine, so for them, it is an essential nutrient. It is also found in “energy drinks”, which might imply that folks who get an extra boost from it might benefit from more fish and grains and a grapefruit with breakfast, and drop the Mr. SuperZoom drink… I leave open the question of “Did cats lose the taurine synthesis path as they didn’t have enough arsenic to drive it?” for someone to do a cat arsenic deprivation study.
Me? (Really “us” as I cook for the familiy) We’re already doing a Fish Friday (that whole ‘spouse decided to be a Catholic for a while’ thing…) and I’ll likely increase that to 2 x a week. Typically served with potatoes (fish ‘n chips or fishsticks and tater-tots or…) I’m thinking ‘fish and grain’ dish would be a good addition. Then adding a grapefruit for breakfast some times. I always felt a bit of a ‘lift’ from a grapefruit, but figured that was the ounce of sugar I dumped on top ;-) I can easily be happy with a breakfast of oatmeal and grapefruit (ignore that 3 pats of butter and ounce of cream on the oatmeal and that drizzle of maple syrup and…)
But Wait, there’s More!
Vanadium and Nickel? Oh Dear, I think I need to go gnaw on a wrench… Bold bits mine…
FASEB J. 1991 Sep;5(12):2661-7.
Nutritional requirements for boron, silicon, vanadium, nickel, and arsenic: current knowledge and speculation.
1United States Department of Agriculture, Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center, North Dakota 58202.
Definition of specific biochemical functions in higher animals (including humans) for the ultratrace elements boron, silicon, vanadium, nickel, and arsenic still has not been achieved although all of these elements have been described as being essential nutrients. Recently, many new findings from studies using molecular biology techniques, sophisticated equipment, unusual organisms, and newly defined enzymes have revealed possible sites of essential action for these five elements. Based on these findings and the response of animals and/or humans to low intakes of these elements, the following speculations have been presented:
1) Boron has a role that affects cell membrane characteristics and transmembrane signaling.
2) Silicon is necessary for the association between cells and one or more macromolecules such as osteonectin, which affects cartilage composition and ultimately cartilage calcification.
3) Vanadium reacts with hydrogen peroxide to form a pervanadate that is required to catalyze the oxidation of halide ions and/or stimulate the phosphorylation of receptor proteins.
4) Nickel is needed for the CO2-fixation to propionyl-CoA to form D-methylmalonyl-CoA.
5) Arsenic has an important role in the conversion of methionine to its metabolites taurine, labile methyl, and the polyamines.
If any of these speculations are found to be true, the element involved will be firmly established as having a nutritional requirement because the body obviously cannot synthesize it. Based on animal findings, the dietary requirement is likely to be small; that is, expressed in micrograms per day.
Well… I guess having sand kicked in your face can now be seen as “free lunch” and helpful to your “osteonectin”… but where in heck to I get my vanadium from?
OK, so eating things like fish is likely to ‘have it all’ as everything ends up in the ocean. Add in some grass fed things (as grasses use silicon more than most) and you are likely ‘good to go’. Probably just leaving the grain whole is enough.
The upshot of all this, to me, is that we really do need to be eating a broad diet of fruits and vegetables, along with grains and fish. Birds and mammals that eat those things ought to be helpful, but may not be as strong a source as the original product (animals tend to dump the excess of nutrients that don’t store well, like metals).
It also says to me that being overly paranoid about “toxins” and “heavy metal toxins” is just as likely to shorten your life and make you operate poorly as being over exposed to such things. We developed in a soup of such metals, and have poor understanding for just how many of them really are a working part of our machinery. Literally: ALL things, in moderation. At least when it comes to metal ions found in the ocean and mud near volcanoes.
With that, I need to go dig in the garage… I’m sure I bought some vanadium wrenches some decades back… ;-)