What is cadmium, and what foods have it?

Cadmium is a mineral found in the environment that can reach animals and crops through agricultural fertilizers. Find out which foods have the highest percentage of cadmium and what risks they can pose to your health.

Cadmium is a heavy metal found in the environment due to its release as a by-product derived from industrial activities. It is also used in fertilizers to contaminate crops and accumulate inland and marine animals, especially shellfish and crustaceans, as well as in the viscera of other animals (liver, kidneys, etc.).

The main danger of excessive consumption of cadmium is its toxicity in our organism since it is a metal that tends to accumulate in organs such as the liver and the kidney, affecting their functions and causing serious long-term diseases.

For this reason, it is necessary to know which foods of our habitual consumption contain large doses of this metal to minimize its consumption and avoid high exposure to prevent risks to our health.

Risks of Consuming Cadmium For Our Health

The highest percentage of cadmium present in the body accumulates in the kidneys, lungs, and liver for an estimated time of 10-30 years.

The people most vulnerable to its effects are those with diabetes and kidney dysfunction. In addition, its absorption capacity is greater in babies, and the infant population is also a metal that is easily transmitted during pregnancy and lactation.

Kidneys And Liver

The kidneys are the main target organ since the toxicity of this metal affects the proximal tubules, indirectly causing alterations in calcium metabolism (demineralization of bones, osteoporosis, and spontaneous bone fractures).

In prolonged and high exposure to cadmium, tubular damage, nephropathy, and kidney dysfunction can also evolve into kidney failure and cancer. In fact, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), cadmium has been classified as a category one carcinogen (it can induce the development of bladder, endometrial, and breast cancer) in addition to being considered an endocrine disruptor.

Digestive Problems

Acute toxicity can cause symptoms after a high intake of this metal, such as acute abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, and vertigo.

What Foods Contain The Most Cadmium?

Viscera Of Animals, Crustaceans, And Shellfish

The viscera of animals are the organs with the highest content of this metal, the kidney being the organ that accumulates the most cadmium, followed by the liver and other offal. As for marine animals, we find high metal levels in crustaceans and shellfish such as prawns, spider crabs, prawns, or crabs.

The risk of consuming this type of food in excess lies in the fact that we usually consume almost all of this food, including viscera, heads, and the meat inside the shell of crabs.

Vegetable products and cereals

On the other hand, cadmium is contained in certain plant-origin products such as seaweed, especially wakame, nori seaweed (used to make sushi), cocoa, wild mushrooms, cereals, etc. Oilseeds should not be underestimated.

In general, these foods contain lower cadmium content than shellfish. In the case of cereals, because it is a food whose intake is much higher in our diet, it can lead to greater exposure to this metal, which is why it is considered the food group that contributes the most cadmium in our total intake daily.

Even so, its usual intake does not carry the same cadmium intake as that which would occur with sporadic consumption of shellfish and crustaceans, so it is not necessary to specify a limit on its consumption.

What You Should Know…

  • The main danger of excessive consumption of cadmium is its toxicity in our body since it is a metal that tends to accumulate in organs such as the liver and kidney.
  • The foods with the highest content of this metal are prawn heads, prawns, crayfish, and the body of crustaceans such as crab, spider crab, or crab. As well as organ meats (kidney, liver, and other offal) of veal, pork, and other meats commonly consumed.
  • Hence the importance of the general population and, especially the child population limit, the consumption of these foods as far as possible.

Also Read : What Nutritional Benefits Does Cod Provide?

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