Reality Of Heavy Metals In Food

Metals Naturally Occur in Healthy Soil, What is Considered Toxic?

(February 6, 2014, Los Angeles, CA) – Axiom Foods, whose Oryzatein® enzyme-extracted, whole grain sprouted brown rice protein is supplied to food manufacturers throughout the U.S., Europe and other countries, is embarking on a campaign to educate consumers about the reality of heavy metals in plant foods

Since the sharp rise of vegetarianism and veganism in the U.S. (Google Trends reported a doubling of veganism since 2010), those whose diets consist mostly of vegetables have a naturally higher heavy metal contribution to their bodies* than those who ingest an animal-based diet.

lipstick tubesAn ethically-based food ingredient provider, Axiom is on a mission to make consumers aware of all the aspects of how and why metals naturally occur in vegetables that grow in healthy soil, so they can make informed decisions about their intake and understand if and when those levels are toxic to the body.

The problem with any metals, beneficial or not, is when the substance reaches toxic levels in the body.  The question is: what is considered to be toxic and what testing methods are certified to determine toxicity? What happens when test results are reported as parts per million vs parts per billion?

Here is a list of facts:

  • Heavy metals, such as arsenic, cadmium and lead are found in all plants that grow in healthy soil because they are natural constituents of the Earth’s crust and have existed on earth since its formation (Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, 2011)
  • Some metals, such as iron, copper, chromium, cobalt, manganese, molybdenum, selenium, and zinc are required by the human body in trace amounts as essential nutrients. Naturally, any metal in the soil or surrounding bodies of water will leech into any plants we consume.   This environmental exposure impacts both organic and conventionally grown crops (European Food Safety Authority, 2012, “Metals as Contaminants in Food.
  •   We consume metals in common plant foods daily, from spinach to spices. Any metal, including those that are essential to the body to function can cause toxicity if introduced at high levels (Total Diet Study Statistics on Element Results, 2007, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, U.S. Food and Drug Administration).
  • Some plants that grow in water, such as rice, spinach and asparagus, are often targeted as contaminated by heavy metals because some crops have been found to be in polluted areas of the world.  This is well known by efficacious growers and manufacturers and as such they consciously choose pristine fields and regularly test in specifically certified laboratories to ensure levels are below what is considered to be toxic. In China, for example, one polluted field cited in the news recently was 3000 miles away from where Axiom has sourced rice on the Himalayan border of Tibet.
  • Testing for contamination in food products needs to be done in accredited laboratories in the United States, where standards for calibration exist and highly-educated practitioners test with accepted scientific methodologies.  Test results can vary vastly based on seemingly insignificant factors. In April, 2013, Dr. Tongesayi of Monmouth University, released a study showing he’d found levels of metal that exceeded FDA safety limits. It turned out he recalled his tests because his instruments were not calibrated.
  • The benefits for plant-based protein outweigh the negatives. Approximately 50 million people in the US are allergic to or intolerant to dairy and 1 in 133 Americans suffer from allergies to wheat gluten, according to the National Foundation of Celiac Awareness; many plant-based proteins are allergen-friendly, aside from soy protein..
  • Standards for levels of metals are set by World Health Organization (W.H.O.), The European Union, The Canadian Natural Health Products Directorate, the U.S. FDA (tolerable daily intake), US Pharmacopeia, U.S. EPA (drinking water) and California’s Proposition 65. All companies that sell products with any levels of metals must be tested by  accredited laboratories. These tests are measured in “parts per million” (ppm); when numbers are reported as “parts per billion” (ppb) they appear exaggeratedly large and raise unnecessary alarm to the consumer.
  • The FDA has yet to set levels for heavy metals in rice, but has used Axiom Food’s technology as the standard for responsible sourcing, fractioning and manufacturing of rice protein. Axiom’s Oryzatein® is in the process of becoming the first GRAS certified rice protein, which will lead toward it becoming the world’s first FDA monographed standard for the entire industry. Oryzatein® was also used in the first double blind clinical trial that showed it equals animal-based whey in building and repairing muscle.
  • Errors can occur in testing and managing levels because natural conditions can change plus accredited labs report that levels can vary by 50% when the amounts of heavy metals that are being found and tested are so small.  The amounts are similar to taking a cube of sugar, chopping it into 1,000 pieces, taking one of those pieces and then chopping it into 1,000 more pieces, and then testing that final piece.
  • How much one ingests is not indicative of how much is retained as the body is a natural filter, dependent upon health factors and level of nutrition, as many foods act as natural antioxidants, helping further filter heavy metals.
“Because we provide whole grain sprouted brown rice protein to food manufacturers worldwide,” said Axiom CEO, David Janow, “certifying bodies such as the FDA and USDA watch what we do very closely and come to us for intelligence on setting standards.  Testing our products in the most well-respected and, most importantly, certified laboratories, is a continuous part of our daily process.  Proper testing will make the difference between something that appears to be safe or toxic. We provide our test results to our customers. We source from the most pristine fields in the world and avoid polluted areas.  As makers of human food, we are in a highly responsible position and work as closely with Mother Nature as she will allow.  At this time in history, avoiding pollution of any kind is no easy task, but it’s something we pursue diligently as part of our standards and practices.”


Here is a table that shows metals found in common foods:

Max. Amounts of Lead, Arsenic, Cadmium found in commonly consumed Foods**
  Lead Arsenic Cadmium
Spinach, fresh, boiled (180g)1 cup 11.5 mcg 7.7 mcg 94.3 mcg
Cucumber, raw (52g) ½ cup 1.6 mcg 1.3 mcg 0.4 mcg
Strawberries, raw (72g) ½ cup 1.2 mcg 0.8 mcg 4.7 mcg
Avocado, raw (75g) ½ cup 3.0 mcg 2.8 mcg 8.0 mcg
Collards, fresh, boiled (190g) 1 cup 25.8 mcg 2.7 mcg 23.2 mcg
Asparagus, fresh, boiled (180g) 1 cup 2.5 mcg 25.0 mcg
Iceberg lettuce, raw (72g) 1 cup 0.4 mcg 1.0 mcg 23.3 mcg
White potato baked w/ skin (138g) 1 cup 2.8 mcg 5.8 mcg 15.5 mcg
Broccoli, fresh, boiled (156g) 1 cup 2.2 mcg 4.7 mcg


**Based on Total Diet Study Statistics on Element Results. 2007, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, US Food and Drug Administration

Axiom Foods is the most innovative source for allergen-friendly, whole grain brown rice ingredients and known for their natural and proprietary methodologies for extracting fractions of other plant proteins such as pea, sacha inchi and others. Since 2005, the California-based company has maximized the potential of whole grain brown rice in all its forms. Their signature Oryzatein® is the only sprouted brown rice protein of its kind. Axiom continues to widen the possibilities of the world’s third largest plant crop into healthful products on which humans thrive.

 

A New Standard For Whole Grain

The most comprehensive definition of whole grain termed to date has been published this week in the journal Food and Nutrition Research. The effort to create the definition, which is intended to assist in the production and labeling of foods rich in whole grains, was born of the HEALTHGRAIN EU project, the largest project ever focusing on cereals and health; and was led by a multi-disciplinary team from some of Europe’s leading universities and food research institutes.

Great GrainsHistorically, there’s been no complete, legally endorsed definition of whole grain flour and products,” explains Jan-Willem van der Kamp, corresponding author of the paper and Senior Officer of International Projects at TNO Food and Nutrition. “Most supermarkets today are stocked with foods that originate from many different countries. When you read ‘25% whole grain flour’ on one product label; the same claim on a different label could mean something quite different nutritionally. If use of this definition is adopted broadly, this inconsistency eventually would cease.”

The HEALTHGRAIN definition is the next step in reaching a precise, common understanding of what constitutes whole grain in food products – from breads to pasta to breakfast cereals – regardless of where they originate, adds van der Kamp.

Almost universally, the term whole grain indicates inclusion of all three components of the cereal grain kernel – endosperm (this is the largest part of the grain and provides mostly starch), germ (comprises only a small part of the grain; this is where sprouting begins) and bran (the grain’s protective outer layer; it is rich in dietary fibre). Variances, however, arise around the particular grains considered “whole”, precise combination of the three components once processed, and processing practices which can affect the resulting flour’s nutritional value. The HEALTHGRAIN definition addresses all three of these issues detailing a permitted list of grains and “pseudo grains” (such as quinoa and amaranth) and processing guidelines that take into account current milling practices.

The need for developing a more comprehensive, detailed whole grain definition was identified during the course of the HEALTHGRAIN EU project, an initiative intended to increase the use of whole grains and their health protecting constituents in food products for improved nutrition and health benefits. The expansive project has involved everything from research to better understand specific health benefits of whole grains to exploration of new ways to get products high in their healthy compounds onto the market.

The HEALTHGRAIN definition was developed by a committee led by van der Kamp, representatives of the Swedish Nutrition Foundation; DPR Nutrition Ltd., UK; and VTT and University of Eastern Finland; in cooperation with a multidisciplinary group of nutrition scientists, cereal scientists and technologists, plant breeders, flour milling specialists and experts in regulatory affairs from throughout Europe.

The article with the complete HEALTHGRAIN definition, including the permitted grains, can be accessed in the current volume of Food and Nutrition Research (http://www.foodandnutritionresearch.net/index.php/fnr/article/view/22100).

http://co-action.net/news/HEALTHGRAIN_definition_4Feb.pdf

Physical Activity Wins Against Excess Weight, Type II Diabetes

How to stick to those  good intentions

couple running on beach“I’m going to do more sport in the new year.“ Hardly any resolution is made more frequently than this one after the calorie-filled Christmas holidays – and hardly one that is broken as frequently. A team headed by Prof. Wolfgang Schlicht from the Institute for Sport and Movement Science at the University of Stuttgart are investigating behaviour techniques in the framework of the project “PREVIEW“[1] with which the physical activity behaviour can be changed in the long term.

The objective of the consortium with 15 partners from eleven nations is to identify those contents of nutrition and physical activity that could prevent the illness breaking out at an early stage in people in danger of becoming diabetic. The recommendations not only help potential diabetic patients but all those intending to live a healthier lifestyle in the new year.

If your trousers feel tight after too many portions of roast goose and too many biscuits, it is not only an aesthetic problem: people who are overweight and have body fat around the abdominal area bear a particularly high risk of becoming ill with type 2 diabetes. As well as massive discomfort, the consequences include serious concomitant diseases of the heart, the kidneys, the eyes, venous occlusions in the extremities up to disabilities or premature death. In Germany almost half of the adult population are overweight, including an increasing number of children. 15 to 20 percent are even considered to be clinically overweight or obese.     

Along with a healthy diet, it is physical activity above all that contributes towards reducing the risk of diabetes.

Since intensive training not only sees the pounds drop off but even increases the insulin sensitivity of the muscle cells. These then react to even a low dosage of insulin so that the pancreas is spared and remains functional for a longer period. Yet many people find it hard to vanquish their inner temptation and to change their physical activity behaviour in the long term after an initial burst of motivation. In order to counter obstacles, techniques to change behaviour based on evidence (i.e. based on empirical evidence) were compiled and recorded in a manual.

Making a contract with yourself 

Those who want to stay the course with their good intentions in the long term, according to the advice of the scientists, should first make a contract with themselves that records in writing the intentions and objectives but also the necessary resources and the period.

The next step should test which activity opportunities exist in front of their own front doors and which ones match man doing pushuptheir natures and preferences. “When-then” sentences help to put the good intentions into practice, such as, for example “When I get home on Monday evening, then I’ll go for a walk for half an hour”, preferably also recorded in writing. The same procedure can also be used with predictable barriers such as “If it rains on Monday evening, I’ll do half an hour of keep fit in the living room instead“.

Documenting what you have already achieved is motivating and also serves as feedback for the targets previously set. And last but not least it is recommendable to look for support in the form of a buddy with whom you can do physical and sporting activities together.

The manual in which the above techniques on changing behaviour are also recorded is initially geared to the consultants in the study centres who accompany 2,500 participants at eight locations worldwide over a period of three years and who are trained for this in two workshops. Moreover, the Stuttgart scientists analyse the personal, social, cultural and environmental factors that could favour or obstruct the success of the study. Examples of such factors are faith in yourself, individually dealing with difficult or negative situations or dealing with temptations, such as sweets.

[1] PREVIEW – Prevention of diabetes In Europe and around the World

Osteoarthritis Patients Benefit From Exercise That Strengthens Bones

The postmenopausal women who may be at risk of osteoporosis (bone loss), as well as at risk of osteoarthritis, can safely carry out progressive high-impact training to maintain bone health and physical function. This was found out in a study conducted in the Department of Sport and Health Sciences at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland.

The study examined the effects of high-impact exercise on bones, cartilages, the symptoms of osteoarthritis and the physical performance of postmenopausal women with mild knee osteoarthritis. The study was conducted in cooperation with the Central Finland Central Hospital and the Department of Medical Technology, the Institute of Biomedicine at the University of Oulu, Finland.

Eighty women from the age group of 50 to 65 years and having knee pain on most days of the month were enrolled into the study and randomly assigned to either a training group or a control group. Prior the intervention, radiographs were taken to prove that each participant had mild knee osteoarthritis. The training group exercised according a supervised progressive exercise program three times a week for 12 months, while the control group continued their normal physical activity. The effect of exercise on the femoral neck bone mineral mass was measured by DXA, and the effect on the biochemical composition of knee cartilage was measured by dGEMRIC – a MRI method specifically designed to measure the proteoglycan content of cartilage.

– The loss of proteoglycans from the articular cartilage is considered to represent the onset of the degenerative process of osteoarthritis, and if this loss of proteoglycans can be hindered, for example, via physical activity, it might slow down the disease progression, says Doctoral Student Juhani Multanen from the Department of Health Sciences.

Jumping exercise and rapid direction changes for strong bones

 

The most efficient exercise to improve bone strength includes high-impact loading (jumping exercises), as well as rapid change of directions. Previously, this type of exercise has been thought to be harmful for the integrity of articular cartilage, although it has never been scientifically proven.

This study showed that training increased femoral neck bone mineral mass and improved physical function such as cardiorespiratory fitness, muscle strength and dynamic balance. The most important finding was that high-impact jumping exercise did not have negative effects on the biochemical composition of cartilage as investigated by MRI in persons with mild knee osteoarthritis.

In addition, the 12-month training was very well tolerated – it did not induce knee pain or stiffness, and the general training compliance was high. For postmenopausal women, the clinical significance of this study is that, despite of mild knee osteoarthritis, progressive high-impact loading exercises are allowed and even recommended to maintain and improve their bone health and functional ability.

The results of this study will be published early in 2014 in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research. The research was funded by the Academy of Finland, the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture, the Finnish Cultural Foundation, the Juho Vainio Foundation, the Yrjö Jahnsson Foundation, the Emil Aaltonen Foundation, the Central Finland Health Care District and the Finnish Doctoral Programme of Musculoskeletal Disorders and Biomaterials (TBDP).

Link to publication summary:

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jbmr.2015/abstract

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