Calcium Combats Fetal and Infant Exposure to Lead
Posted Friday, September 19, 2008

Even if there is not a significant amount of lead in the environment children grow up in, they can still be at risk of lead exposure ...from their mothers! But this need not be unduly disturbing, as there are steps that can be taken to decrease such a risk.

A study recently published online at Environmental Health Perspectives suggests that supplements high in calcium may help lower lead levels in the blood of pregnant and lactating women. The stress of a pregnancy and the postpartum period that follows speed up skeletal maintenance, causing the body to increase the amount of lead present in the system. Seemingly innocuous,--as this increase of lead in the blood is actually part of a protective process for the woman's bones--such is not the case. An excess of lead produced by a child's mother may have the same dire effects of an excess of lead anywhere in a child's environment, whether it be in utero or from more external worldly deposits of lead, the danger remains the same for children.

With this concern in mind, researchers set out to find possible solutions. Their findings lead them to believed that additional amounts of calcium in the diet may have a protective effect, especially concerning fetal and infant exposure to lead.

"The bottom line is that obstetricians and pediatricians should consider adding calcium supplementation to the prenatal vitamins normally recommended in pregnant women, particularly if their patients have a significant history of environmental or occupational lead exposure," said Howard Hu, chair of the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at the School of Public Health.


Here are a few links to investigate if you're interested:
Recent findings about lead exposure risks for children (University of Michigan)
Increases of lead in the blood during pregnancy (Environmental Health Perspectives)
Exposure to lead in infancy (Environmental Health Perspectives)
Calcium supplements cut blood lead levels during pregnancy (US News & World Report)


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