Supplement: Arsenic

Supplement: Arsenic

Supplement: Arsenic




Other Names:

Arsenate, Arsenic Pentoxide, Arsenic Trichloride, Arsenic Trioxide, Arsénico, Arsenicum Album, Arsenicum Iodatum, Arsenite, Arsénite, Arsénite de Sodium, As, Atomic Number 33, Fowler’s Solution, Numéro Atomique 33, Pentoxyde d’Arsenic, Sodium Arsenite, Solution de Fowler, Trichlorure d’Arsenic.

Arsenic is a trace element. It is found in several foods including seafood, poultry, grains (especially rice), bread, cereal products, mushrooms, and dairy products. Some forms of arsenic are used as medicine.

Despite serious safety concerns, arsenic is often used as a part of extremely diluted homeopathic remedies that are used for digestive disorders, food poisoning, sleep problems (insomnia), allergies, anxiety, depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Arsenic is also contained in traditional Chinese medicine formulas and used for psoriasis; syphilis; asthma; joint pain (rheumatism); hemorrhoids; cough; itchiness; cancer; to reduce swelling (as an anti-inflammatory agent); and as a general tonic and pain-killer.

Healthcare providers sometimes give arsenic trioxide intravenously (by IV) to treat a type of blood cancer called acute promyelocytic leukemia. This arsenic product is available by prescription only.

Natural medicines can be contaminated with arsenic and may produce symptoms of poisoning when consumed in large amounts or for extended periods of time. Cases of arsenic poisoning have been reported with homeopathic arsenic products and with kelp supplements. High arsenic levels have been reported in people who consume raw opium for long periods of time. Measurable levels of arsenic may be found in some calcium supplements made from algae or shells. A study of 251 herbal products sold in the US detected arsenic in 36 (14%) of them.

Arsenic is a trace element that occurs naturally in very small amounts in the diet. Its exact functions are not known. The estimated adult daily intake of arsenic from a typical diet is 12-50 mcg. A dietary requirement of 12-25 mcg/day has been suggested.

In leukemia, arsenic trioxide increases death of cancer cells.

Effective for:

Treating a certain type of leukemia (acute promyelocytic leukemia). A specific prescription-only intravenous medication is used for this purpose.

Insufficient Evidence for:

Food poisoning.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
Itchy skin.
Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of arsenic for these uses.

The form of arsenic found naturally in foods (organic arsenic) does not seem to cause any harm when taken in food amounts.

Arsenic trioxide (Trisenox) is safe when given by IV by a healthcare provider. It is an FDA-approved prescription drug.

Other forms of arsenic (inorganic arsenic) can be very poisonous, even in small doses. Don’t take arsenic supplements. Taking 10 mcg/kg/day over a period of time can produce symptoms of arsenic poisoning. Taking 5 mg of arsenic, or sometimes less, can cause digestive tract symptoms. Higher doses can cause severe poisoning and death. Inorganic arsenic is classified as a human cancer-causing agent.

Laws have been made to regulate the amount of arsenic that is allowed in the water supply. The maximum permissible level of arsenic in drinking water is 10 mcg/L. Long-term exposure to arsenic in drinking water at a level of 50 mcg/L has been linked to reduced scores on intelligence tests in children.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: The trace amounts of arsenic naturally found in food are safe. But arsenic supplements should not be taken. Arsenic has been linked to birth defects and other serious harm in animals.

Low levels of folic acid (folic acid deficiency): There is some evidence that folic acid deficiency changes the way the body processes and removes arsenic and may contribute to higher arsenic levels.

Heart problems: The prescription form of arsenic (arsenic trioxide, Trisenox) can affect heart rhythm in some patients.

Major Interaction. Do not take this combination:

Medications that can cause an irregular heartbeat (QT interval-prolonging drugs) interacts with ARSENIC
Some forms of arsenic might cause an abnormal heart beat. Taking arsenic along with other medications that can cause an irregular heartbeat might cause serious side effects including heart arrhythmias.
Some medications that can cause an irregular heartbeat include amiodarone (Cordarone), disopyramide (Norpace), dofetilide (Tikosyn), ibutilide (Corvert), procainamide (Pronestyl), quinidine, sotalol (Betapace), thioridazine (Mellaril), and many others.


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Please Note:

Tell all your health care providers about any complementary health practices you use. Give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health. This will help ensure coordinated and safe care.


The information presented is believed to be accurate, however, the publisher accepts no responsibility for the accuracy of the information provided, and the reader assumes all risk for its use. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These products are not meant to diagnose‚ treat or cure any disease or medical condition. Please consult your doctor before starting any exercise or nutritional supplement program or before using these or any product during pregnancy or if you have a serious medical condition.

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McGuinnessPublishing™ is an authoritative source for information about Vitamin Supplement Ingredients and their use. The information provided on this site is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. The information on this website is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Never disregard medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this or any website. We always urge you to consult your doctor before taking any vitamins or supplements due to potential side effects.

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