Environmental Geochemistry and Health

, Volume 38, Issue 2, pp 339–351 | Cite as

Influence of diet, vitamin, tea, trace elements and exogenous antioxidants on arsenic metabolism and toxicity

  • Haiyan Yu
  • Su Liu
  • Mei Li
  • Bing WuEmail author
Review Paper


Health risk of arsenic (As) has received increasing attention. Acute and chronic exposure to As could cause several detrimental effects on human health. As toxicity is closely related to its bioaccessibility and metabolism. In real environment, many factors, such as diet and nutrition, can influence As bioaccessibility, metabolism and toxicity. This paper mainly reviews the influences of diets and elements on As bioaccessibility, metabolism and toxicity and their underlying mechanisms to provide suggestions for future investigations. Vitamins, jaggery, fruit, tea, glutathione, N-acetylcysteine and zinc could reduce the As-induced toxicity by increasing antioxidative enzymes to antagonize oxidative stress caused by As and/or increasing As methylation. However, bean and betel nut could increase risk of skin lesions caused by As. Interestingly, high-fat diet, selenium and iron have incompatible effects on As bioaccessibility, metabolism and toxicity in different experimental conditions. Based on current literatures, the As methylation and As-induced oxidative damage might be two main ways that the diets and elements influence As toxicity. Combined application of in vitro human cell lines and gastrointestinal models might be useful tools to simultaneously characterize the changes in As bioaccessibility and toxicity in the future research.


Arsenic Diet Element Toxicity Metabolism Bioaccessibility 



This work was supported by Natural Science Foundation of Jiangsu Province (BK20131270), Foundation of State Key Laboratory of Pollution Control and Resource Reuse, and Science Foundation of Nanjing University.


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Pollution Control and Resource Reuse, School of the EnvironmentNanjing UniversityNanjingPeople’s Republic of China

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