Should Pregnant Women Worry About Cadmium?


"cadmium"There’s been much concern about Cadmium lately. It’s turning up in children’s jewelry and Happy Meal glasses. It turns out this heavy metal is in some other things too, like foods—some of them popular with pregnant women.

Some of the worst offenders are certain brands of protein drinks. Consumer Reports recently tested a dozen or so and found high cadmium levels in more than a few. There were also high levels of lead, mercury and arsenic.  Many pregnant women drink protein shakes to try to maximize their nutritional input. But if you buy commercial brands like Myoplex or Muscle Milk, you  may be getting more than just dense nutrition in that cocktail.

Cadmium is found in other foods as well. The primary source is soil which has been contaminated  by chemical solution. Small levels of calcium are found in most foods. Shellfish can have higher levels when it comes from contaminated waters. There’s some question of whether certain foods high in cadmium may also contain substances that help the body process it, specifically shellfish and sunflower seeds. Iron levels can also affect cadmium processing (lower levels correlate with higher cadmium absorption.

The best way to keep your cadmium exposure low during pregnancy and at any time is to eat a balanced, healthy diet. And cigarette smoke is a major source of cadmium, so there’s another reason to avoid smoke during pregnancy.

photo: wikimedia