Posted on Tue, 25 Apr 17
Dietary arsenic exposure from rice is a possible health risk and minimizing dietary exposure could be important.
Exposure to arsenic from food sources is emerging as an important health risk, yet despite increasing concern there are no consumer guidelines that help people reduce exposure .
Rice is one of the most significant dietary sources of arsenic, which is naturally concentrated in the plant from the soil and groundwater during cultivation.
Inorganic arsenic, the major type of arsenic in rice, is a toxic metal that has been associated with increased risk for numerous diseases including various cancers, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes, at common levels of dietary exposure .
Several studies have found that eating more rice increases inorganic arsenic exposure. For example, eating 300 g of rice led to a 730% increase in urinary total arsenic excretion in adults  and approximately ½ a cup of cooked rice daily was estimated to provide just below the total threshold for arsenic exposure in US women .
A potential concern is the increasing popularity of gluten-free diet products which are frequently rice-based. A recent study found that people following a gluten-free diet have higher arsenic exposure . And high consumption of rice-based gluten-free foods could result in arsenic toxicity .
To reduce potential risks we need more research into ways to reduce arsenic concentrations in rice. Additionally, individual health assessment and detoxification methods need to be considered.
For now, some simple ways to reduce risk would be to avoid heavy reliance on rice and rice-based foods, especially gluten-free products. Additionally, ensuring optimal intake of nutrients such as selenium, vitamin E, vitamin B12 and folate with a good multivitamin and mineral supplement may help arsenic detoxification . As may chlorophyll-rich green leafy vegetables and foods such as spirulina .
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