What foods are a source of arsenic?
As a natural constituent of the earth’s crust, arsenic can be found in most soils and is taken up by plants grown in that area. However, the arsenic content of foods can also be affected by the arsenic in pesticides and airborne pollutants. Among the most concentrated sources of arsenic are sea animals (fish, shellfish). Dietary requirements for arsenic have not been established, although 12 to 15 µg daily is probably sufficient.
What does arsenic do in the body?
Although arsenic has long been regarded as an unwanted substance, it may be an essential component after all. Although its involvement has not been clearly identified, arsenic is most likely important in the metabolism of two amino acids, methionine and arginine.
What happens in arsenic deficiency and toxicity?
Arsenic deficiencies have resulted in a reduced growth rate in animals. Arsenic deficiency may also reduce conception rates and increase the likelihood of death in newborns. Perhaps no other constituent of the body conjures a stronger notion of toxicity than arsenic. It certainly is the only nutrient that can be fatal in milligram amounts. Arsenic, in the form of arsenic trioxide, can be fatal at doses greater than 0.76 to 1.95 mg.