What is Cadmium?

Cadmium is a heavy metal that may be present in food and absorbed by the body in small amounts. It is efficiently retained in the kidneys and liver, where it can remain for decades. Cadmium is a relatively toxic metal whose essentiality has only recently been investigated. The toxicity of the metal appears to be related to its ability to replace endogenous metal ions from cellular constituents, particularly proteins.


What is the function of cadmium?

Cadmium impairs calcium metabolism, replaces calcium in the bones, and can contribute to certain medical conditions such as osteoporosis and osteomalacia, ureter and kidney stones, lower back pain, leg pain, excessive calcium in the urine (hypercalcuria), rheumatoid arthritis and decreased production of active vitamin D.Cadmium also participates in the activation of certain enzymes, as well as replaces zinc, which is normally present within carboxypeptidase.  Carbonxypeptidase is an enzyme found in the pancreas and intestine and is involved in the digestion of proteins. Zinc deficiency can lead to symptoms such as stiffness, high blood pressure and inflammation.



What foods are rich in cadmium?

Cadmium is regarded as a toxin of food, such as other metals, including arsenic and lead. Its presence, which can be found in many foods, depends on its concentration in the soil, water and air. Cadmium levels in some foods can be increased by the application of phosphate fertilizers or sewage sludge to farm fields.Among the foods that are richer in cadmium include liver, mushrooms, shellfish, cocoa powder and dried seaweed



What is the recommended daily requirement of cadmium?

There is no recommended daily intake of cadmium.


What are the consequences of cadmium deficiency?

At the moment, there are no known diseases associated with cadmium deficiency. However, since cadmium and zinc are closely related, zinc deficiency can lead to cadmium toxicity. Women are more prone to cadmium toxicity than men. This may be due to the fact that females in general tend to have a lower metabolic rate than males. In such cases, conditions that may be triggered include birth defects (key to zinc deficiency), kidney disease, and damage to the nervous system.


What are the consequences of excessive cadmium intake?

The accumulation of cadmium in the body in the long run can lead to several adverse effects. The areas of the body that are most likely to be affected are primarily the kidneys, whose function may be compromised by the presence of this metal so much that it leads to kidney failure.
Also, an excessive intake of cadmium can cause diarrhea, stomach pain, vomiting, and bone demineralization, which in turn can cause fractures, fertility problems, nerve damage, as well as immune system and psychological disorders. Finally, cadmium is classified by the International Agency for Cancer Research as a Group 1 carcinogen.




It is true that cadmium intake is associated with breast cancer?

Based on scientific research, exposure to excessive doses of cadmium has been associated to an increased chance of developing cancer, not only in the breasts, but alsoin other organs and tissues, such as the lungs, bladder and endometrium.Interference with zinc-dependent enzymes may be the link to malignancy.