Can Vitamin C Help with Lead Poisoning?

Can Vitamin C Help with Lead Poisoning?

[Music] even if the nutritional manipulation is proven effective in reducing blood lead levels a reliance on such an intervention places most of the burden for prevention on those most affected at least responsible for the underlying environmental causes nutritional interventions therefore must never substitute for efforts to reduce lead exposure to safer levels on the other hand you know when used as an adjunct some nutritional changes may prove that benefits beyond lead toxicity for example vitamin C rich foods may help with a bunch of things in addition to perhaps influencing lead toxicity through an effect on absorption of led elimination of lead transport within the body tissue binding or just helping ameliorate some of the damage but based on what well in 1939 a remarkable study was published entitled vitamin C treatment in lead poisoning in which seventeen lead workers were given a hundred milligrams of vitamin C a day the amount found in one or two oranges and with practically all of them there was a market gain and vigor color of skin cheerfulness their blood appetite and ability to sleep now they were chosen because they seemed in pretty bad shape maybe even had scurvy so no wonder a little vitamin C helped but vitamin C is an antioxidant and oxidation is an important mechanism underlying lead toxicity so it’s conceivable that it may have mediated some of the harm but the vitamin C didn’t appear to just reduce the damage from the lead but reduce the lead itself this is the amount of lead a painter was peeing out over a month after starting 200 milligrams of vitamin C a day a five-fold drop suggesting he was absorbing less of the lead into his body and he was one of three painters they tried it on and evidently all their levels dropped the researchers concluded that those exposed to lead should be advised to include in their diet plenty of vitamin C rich foods such as tomato citrus spinach turnips bell peppers cantaloupe etc now this was just three painters and they didn’t have a control group of painters that didn’t take vitamin C so maybe everyone’s lead levels would have dropped regardless for some reason it was just a coincidence you don’t know until you put it to the test that original data was so compelling that it inspired others to try to replicate them I mean if it actually works they could start panting doubt grapefruits at the factory door the earlier study didn’t have a good control group but they weren’t gonna make that same mistake this time half the group got a hundred milligrams of vitamin C today not just for a month before a year and the other group got nothing and careful study the group failed to reveal any effect of vitamin C on the lead concentration in their blood or your no difference in their physical condition no changes in their blood work and so no reason for recommending the use of vitamin C to minimize effects of lead absorption bummer looks so promising whenever I study a topic I try to read the research chronologically so as to you can experience the discoveries as they happen throughout history but I was so tempted at this point I just jumped to a recent review to see what had happened in the intervening 74 years since this was published but I didn’t want to spoiler alert myself there were in vitro studies where they like dripped antioxidants on let exposed cells and it seemed to help and so they jumped on the cantaloupe bandwagon too but these are like test tube studies the first population study was published in 1999 and they did find that those with high vitamin C levels in their blood tended to have lower lead levels youths with the highest vitamin C levels had a nearly 90 percent lower prevalence of having elevated blood lead levels compared to those with the lowest C now this was a cross-sectional study just a snapshot in time so we don’t know what the vitamin C caused a drop in lead maybe the lead caused a drop in vitamin C let is a pro-oxidant so maybe just eat up the vitamin C and hey who has higher vitamin C levels those who can afford to have higher vitamin C levels those who eat lots of fruits and vegetables maybe the lower vitamin C levels was just a proxy for being poor and that’s the real reason for their higher lead levels lots of good reasons to be eating more fruits and vegetables and which be eating more spinach regardless but it’d be nice to know if it actually helps with lead poisoning or not to know that we need to put it to the test unfortunately most of the published interventions are like this what are the effects of dietary vitamin C supplementation on lead treated sea cucumbers well that’s not very helpful and there’s a surprising number of articles on the effects of C supplementation on Mouse testicles but that’s because lead may impair male fertility lead workers appear to have a reduced likelihood of fathering children this may in part be due to oxidative stress so how about giving an antioxidant like vitamin C and putting it to the test ease no not rat testes no not frog testes no not crab tests I didn’t even know crabs had testicles here we go the clinical relevance of vitamin C among lead exposed infertile men human men which I’ll cover next [Music]



  • Lisa Maugeri

    Thanks for everything you do! 🎉

  • Lichtblick

    So in conclusion of all the lead videos: You want to reduce lead poisoning? Eat a vegan diet 🍏✌️

  • Mat Rou

    "I didn't even know crabs HAD testicles!" really cracked me up. Thanks again for working such great meta-analysis; I love it when you show us, the viewers, the nonsensical and mundane data as well that you have to go through to reach to any conclusions. This kind of transparency really encourages trust in the work you lot do.

  • sooooooooDark

    infotainment at its best

  • Jax Amilius

    wtf is wrong with u. just make 1 video and get it over with… dont turn your channel into a dreadful episode of F.R.I.E.N.D.S….

    seriously doc…

  • Blake

    These repetitive videos on lead are causing me to seriously consider unsubscribing. Videos on intermittent fasting have been promised for a really long time but not one has been released; meanwhile, here are 500 videos on lead poisoning..

  • Aliisa Kalma

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children of color whose families are poor and who live in housing built before 1950 have the highest lead poisoning risk.

    On average, between 1999 and 2004, black children were 1.6 times more likely to test positive for lead in their blood than white children. And among children who tested positive for extremely high lead levels (≥10 micrograms per deciliter), the disparity was even more stark. Black children were nearly three times more likely than white children to have highly elevated blood-lead levels, the type of lead poisoning where the most damaging health outcomes occur.

  • upittman1

    cliffhanger…  the lead saga continues.

  • adg80

    The amount of videos devoted to lead poisoning is disproportionate to actual risk most vegans face, unless they're eating tons of cocoa/ chocolate, certain seeds, or have old lead pipes. Move on to other more pertinent topics please.

  • Isabel Atticus

    Thanks for doing all these lead videos!

  • Rivka SC

    Please give us what you think we need to know. Thank you for all you do.

  • lbh3d

    Cliffhanger!! Me and testicles are on the edge of our seats.

  • Jeff Lebowski

    Another cliffhanger. The CDC still recommends vitamin C and calcium to reduce lead in the body.

  • Zee Zag

    thank you

  • D Master

    100 milligrams is way to lower dose to make any difference with lead. it's like giving 100th of an effective dose of antibiotics finding it doesn't do any good and concluding antibiotics don't work. vitamin C should be given to bowel tolerance to be effective.

  • G Vas

    Lol…enjoyed this one. Thank you for the daily dose of vitamin laughter 🙂

  • Predrag Nikolić


  • flyshacker


  • ThoseStairsTheFirst

    Some topics I'd be interested in: Acai vs Aronia, Sumac, ayurvedic nootropics (some may be helpful), fasting (don't think it's necessary), nutrient timing (for example: better to eat magnesium rich foods in the evening?), sleep circadian rhythm, hydroxocobalamin, black pepper effect on liver.

  • Tanner Van-Es

    your video quality has gotten surprising better. I have always love your devotion to sticking to the science, but it is a lot easier to watch with the improvements that you have made. it is startaling the difference between some of your first videos and your more recent ones. thankyou for your services they are truly life changing.

  • QualityGains

    'Let's put it to the testies!' Well, that came unexpected. Gave me a good laugh Dr. Greger!

  • furyofbongos

    Thanks so much for the lead videos! Can't wait for the fasting series.

  • iWillWakeYouUp

    This channel is the VaatiVidya of nutrition.

  • WisdomTooth

    I think the doc has a lead problem

  • Peter Rabitt

    Put it to the testes…


  • Maple Flavor


  • wakeupnow

    no more suspense

  • Cameron Salehpour

    After a whole semester of physiology I started feeling sad and bored that I had nothing going on, tho video filled that void for 7 min

  • Richard F

    Vitamin C has a long history of bad research associated with it. Well known hospitals making the 'minor' mistake of replacing intravenous C with oral C! And burying the fact so well it doesn't surface for years.
    Vitamin C is water soluble and washes out of the system very quickly. Tiny amounts like 100mg are almost useless. Ten or one hundred times that amount will produce real results.
    Humans used to make their own Vitamin C internally. Like most of the other animals. An animal as large as a man produces 10 or 20 GRAMS of C per day when they are well. When sick they produce much more.
    I take 10 to 20 grams per day in divided doses. It helps in a myriad of ways.
    If I drink alcohol I don't get drunk! So many other good effects.
    Unfortunately, the science is actively suppressed. Perhaps because C is so inexpensive and so effective.
    Do your research, but look deeper this time. Check into Dr. Klenner who cured sixty cases of polio in the 1940s and 1950 with Vitamin C.
    Don't be so limited in your sources of information. Or your acceptance of negative research refuting positive research when a large body of other evidence exists.

    Thanks for all that you do.

  • Vasco M Leitão

    Thanks to João Madureira for the portuguese translation 🙂

  • gwynedd1

    Not having vitamin C is more a product of ignorance. Perhaps in an urban jungle it might be harder. Pine needles have it. Its year around.

  • tubefreakmuva

    Was this L-ascorbic acid that was added 1gram a day?? Or a whole fruit Vit C? – Go Greger!

  • Allen Cohen

    100 mg of vitamin c is nothing.  Try taking a few thousands milligrams of vitamin c daily, forever, and see how well you feel !

  • Daniel Finnsether

    You cant compare 100mg vita c from almost 100 years ago to 100mg now xD There has been an exponential increase in unknown and toxic substances since that study. After a quick head calculation you would need around 6000mg to equal that 100mg because of environmental pollution and average diet toxicity xD

  • Gregory Moszczynski

    Aviation gasoline.

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