Kansas City,
11:32 AM

Fight lead exposure with nutrient-rich foods

Contaminated water has left thousands of Flint parents fearing for the health of their kids — and with good reason.

Lead exposure in children under 6 can damage organs, slow development, lead to learning and behavioral problems, and more.

And while many factors are out of residents’ hands, there is one powerful tool health experts say they can use to fight back: Nutritious foods. Consuming foods rich in three key nutrients — calcium, iron and vitamin C — can prevent lead from being absorbed in the body.

Although food cannot rid lead from the body, it can counter some of its side effects, said Dr. Jennifer Lowry, chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Council on Environmental Health and medical director at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Mo.

“The biggest one we worry about is the anemia that can occur” with lead exposure, she said. “So iron, of course, is important to have in your diet whether it be a multivitamin or dark green vegetables.”

With behavioral issues, Lowry said lead exposure has been associated with ADHD symptoms. She cautions that lead poisoning isn’t likely to cause Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, but rather exacerbate it. If a child has ADHD or is prone to it, lead is “probably going to make it worse,” she said.

Preventing the absorption of lead now with proper nutrition can spare a child serious health problems in the future.

See the full story via The Detroit Press.

Read more about Children's Mercy's Pharmacology and Toxicology Department.