Indian Journal of Clinical Biochemistry

, Volume 18, Issue 2, pp 154–160 | Cite as

Role of essential trace minerals on the absorption of heavy metals with special reference to lead

  • Herman Sunil D'Souza
  • Geraldine Menezes
  • T. VenkateshEmail author


Heavy metals are important toxicants known to exert adverse effects in humans and animals, given sufficient exposure and accumulation in the body. This has a great concern both at personal and public health risk. Heavy metals are also known to interact with the essential trace minerals at the level of absorption and also during the metabolism. The adverse effects of the absorbed and accumulated heavy metals include neurological, reproductive, renal and hematological systems. Children are more sensitive than adults to the effects of lead. Efforts are made to understand the mechanism of the interactions of heavy metals with essential trace minerals at the level of absorption. With available sensitive and specific methodologies like Anodic Stripping Voltammetry for the evaluation of the levels of toxic heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, mercury etc., better understanding of heavy metal absorption is made possible.

Due to the poor nutritional standards, risk of heavy metal exposure is still a major concern in developing countries. Studies carried out by the author have provided evidence towards the understanding of the prevailing mechanisms of metal-metal interaction at the intestinal level. During growth and development the demand for the essential minerals being at higher level, differentiation of various essential metals and heavy metals pose an inherent problem due to certain common properties shared by them. With this approach to the problem of heavy metal toxicity, it is preventable not only with environmental intervention but also by the nutritional management.

Key words

Lead poisoning lead absorption toxic metal and essential metal interaction prevention of lead poisoning nutritional management of lead poisoning 


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Copyright information

© Association of Clinical Biochemists of India 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Herman Sunil D'Souza
    • 1
  • Geraldine Menezes
    • 1
  • T. Venkatesh
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of BiochemistrySt. John's Medical CollegeBangalore

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