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BrianMDelaney

Cadmium contamination in cacao products

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Guest Bunker Bean

I was previousley unaware of this contamination problem , and this is very disappointing !

I have been using 10 g. of "Hershey's 100% Unsweetened Cocoa Powder" every day for several years .

I mix it into my nonfat/unsweetened greek yogurt , to which I add blueberries & diced walnuts .

I also use it when making an alternate but similar oatmeal breakfast .

I AM NOT HAPPY !

--- Bunker Bean

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Well, Consumerlab has now updated their report. Very interesting! First, Samantha, Ghirardelli has very little Cd, but has 1.4 mcg. of lead per 6 g serving!

 

Interestingly, among the few "Best Options", Consumerlab recommends Navitas nibs: they're so packed with flavanols you won't end up consuming much cadmium (and no lead) while getting the recommended 200 mg. flavanols/day.

 

Brian

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Got a reply from Kevala (I've purchased their nibs in the past):

 

-------- Mensaje original --------
Asunto: Re: Cadmium in cacao products
Fecha: Mon, 29 Sep 2014 13:13:14 -0500
De: Sylvia Cirlos
Para: president@ [...]
CC: Kevala Customer Service
 
 
Hello Brian,
 
Thank your concern about this matter. We do test cadmium and lead in our
products.
We have a specification of
 
Last COA results for cadmium were 0.356 ppm and for lead
Which comply with Kevala Standards.
Let me know if you have any more questions.
 
Sylvia Cirlos
Quality Assurance
Edited by BrianMDelaney

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Guest Michelle

Hi there,

I realize that I am a little late to the party but I have been reading comments about the different cocoa companies.  There was talk about Hershey's being safer, but we have boycotted them for another reason.  My husband had a college class which had a case study about how Hershey's purchased their cocoa from farms which kidnapped kids from neighboring areas to work their farms.  The study showed that the company for years had said they would stop purchasing from these farms, but for at least the last 10 years, nothing has changed.  The thought of children being kidnapped and worked as slaves completely turns me away from any company that knowingly supports this practice.

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Guest Robert Herman

Brian ..... I wouldn't be too quick to junk your Navitas Nibs as Consumer Labs in that same report says that although an  ounce of the nibs has too much cadmium, the amount of flavanolls is extremely high ..... using less that a tablespoon of the nibs produces about 200 mg of Flavanol, which they say is as about as good as it gets ..................................... I am not posting the exact quote as it is coy righted and that would be a no no.

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Hi All!

 

I've switched to Trader Joe's Cocoa powder. It is advertised as being produced from "100% Tumaco Cocoa Beans", grown in southern Columbia. It is claimed that it contains "more cocoa butter than other commercially" sold cocoa powders. It does taste MUCH better than any other cocoa product that I've tried -- and has twice the calories. I asked at my local Trader Joe's store about cadmium and other heavy metal contamination. They checked it, and gave me some figures that seemed really low -- but I didn't write them down. I'll get that information again, when available. (Of course, that's not the same as an assay -- (but a company can make multiple assays, and only show the one that looks best.)

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Robert, yes, you're right. And I worry less about cadmium than lead. Still....

 

Saul, thanks. Look forward to any additional info you can pass along, when available.

 

Myself, I've now settled into having one square of Baker's Unsweetened Baking Chocolate Bar All Natural twice a day.

 

http://www.prevention.com/food/healthy-eating-tips/new-report-names-healthiest-chocolate-bar-most-flavanols

 
 
Of course, another question is whether people on CR benefit from flavanols (and from all the other supplements we take...).

 

Brian

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Guest LAUREN

Navitas Organic Cacao Powder is the best!   There is no cadmium in this product.  I'm tired of people with their supposedly "new" theories about organic food and how they may be contaminated - such as raw honey.  Don't believe it!  They probably work for Monsanto!! :ph34r:

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Hi Lauren,

 

According to both ConsumerLab.com, and Mike Adams's lab, Navitas Organic Cacao Powder has extremely high levels of cadmium.

 

What is the basis of your claim that it has none?

 

http://www.naturalnews.com/045545_cacao_powder_cadmium_lab_testing_results.html

 

I've spoken with the people at Navitas, and they themselves admitted there were worrying levels of cadmium in their cacao products (true of most cacao products, though, to be sure!). They have been working to find cleaner sources.

 

Brian

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All:
 
Gah ... got started on this over six weeks ago, stumbled across the new-to-the-discussion issue of Ochratoxin A contamination, and got myself into a Bertha  situation by burrowing into it ...
 
I'm going to do more or less what they've done in Seattle: cut my losses, dig out, dump what I've got, and then hope that someone else will bring in their own replacement bearings and seals and start digging again.

First, overriding all of these issues in my view is the very preliminary evidence that moderately high cocoa consumption may increase the risk of Parkinson's disease (the dead-link news story on Goldman's study is here) — one of the few diseases of aging against which there seem to be very few plausible preventive strategies, aside from caffeinated coffee and nicotine.
 
Unfortunately, Goldman's study was greatly underpowered, and so was never submitted for formal publication; and while Dr. Goldman initially expressed interest in following up his preliminary result in a larger twin study, but has been unable to secure the funding to do so.  A subsequent study, while it only inquires about higher chocolate consumption in people with existing PD,  is consistent with such an effect if we assume that the selective preference for chocolate after diagnosis reflects lifelong habits — though the authors offer an alternative "reverse-causation" mechanism assuming an increase at or just before diagnosis:
 

498 PD patients and their partners were evaluated by a structured self-questionnaire asking for consumption of chocolate and non-chocolate sweets, changes in chocolate consumption during the disease course, and depressive symptoms. Questionnaires from 274 patients (55 %) and 234 controls were eligible for further analysis. Consumption of chocolate was significantly higher in PD patients compared to controls, while consumption of non-chocolate sweets was similar in both groups. Our study suggests that chocolate consumption is increased in PD independent of concomitant depressive symptoms measured by BDI-1. Although reasons for increased chocolate consumption in PD remain elusive, it may hypothetically be a consequence of the high content of various biogenic amines and/or caffeine analogues with potential antiparkinsonian effects.(1)


However, the authors subsequently tested the "self-medication" hypothesis, and found no credible evidence of an antiparkinsonian effect in cocoa-containing chocolate compared to a placebo product:
 

The cacao ingredient contains caffeine analogues and biogenic amines, such as β-phenylethylamine, with assumed antiparkinsonian effects. We thus tested the effects of 200 g of chocolate containing 80 % of cacao on UPDRS [Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale] motor score after 1 and 3 h in 26 subjects with moderate non-fluctuating PD in a mono-center, single-dose, investigator-blinded crossover study using cacao-free white chocolate as placebo comparator.
 
In the primary outcome variable, there was a similar reduction of UPDRS III motor scores in the ITT population in both treatments after 1 h (Table I ) with mean changes compared to baseline of -1.0 (95% CI 0.20-1.80) or -5% for white and -1.3 (95% CI  0.18-2.52) or -5% for dark chocolate after 1 h. RMANOVA revealed that scores were statistically significantly different only in dark chocolate treatment (white chocolate F= 3.205, p = 0.080;d ark chocolate F = 4.783, p =  0.013; Bonferroni adjusted p = 0.021 for 1-h values). A 2 x 2 cross-over statistical analysis revealed no significant differences between white and dark chocolate [treatment effect -0.54 ± 0.47 (95%  CI -1.50 to 0.42), p=0.258; period effect 1.46 ± 0.41 (95 % CI 0.50-2.42), p = 0.004; carry-over effect 0.26 ± 0.87 (95 % CI -l.54 to 2.06), p = 0.767). No significant changes were observed between baseline and 3 h post-treatment values with no significant treatment, period and carry-over effects. We did not observe any changes in GCI [Global Clincal Impression — may be the same as Clinical Global Impression -MR]. Analyses of the per-protocol population revealed similar results.  β-phenylethylamine blood levels were unaltered. Together, chocolate did not show significant improvement over white cacao-free chocolate in PD motor function.


 See some followup discussion here, which was written after (1) but without knowledge of (2).
 
Additionally, another group has performed animal studies (3,4) suggesting long-term PD-inducing effect of 2-PEA, the same constituent suggested above as possibly a antiparkinsonian agent. However, these studies relied on injected 2-PEA, and as reported in (2), ingestion of 200 g of dark, 80.1% cacao chocolate led to no rise in blood 2-PEA in humans, so this seems unlikely as a mechanism.

Back closer to the original subject: there is a bunch of new information on lead and cadmium contamination of chocolate products from a nonprofit organization. The value of this information is limited: they don't actually give quantitative data — just whether or not it exceeds California’s Proposition 65 "safe harbor” level (in this case, the maximum allowable daily limi(MADL) 4.1 μg/day for cadmium and the no significant risk level (NRSL) of 15 µg/d for lead) — and quite a few of the products would not be on any flavonoid-seeker's consideration list, as they are things like Reese's peanut butter cups, where there is very little cocoa solids in the product. Also, they focus (understandably) largely on very big brands. They have "filed notices with 16 manufacturers, including See’s, Mars, Hershey, Lindt, Godiva, Whole Foods, and others, for failing to provide required warnings to consumers that their chocolate products contain lead, cadmium, or both."
 

This is the fourth time As You Sow has filed notices against chocolate companies on such grounds. The organization filed notices–naming many of the same brands in today’s filings–in July, November, and December 2014. Another organization filed such notices back in 2002, but they were withdrawn before coming to trial.
- Heavy Metal Valentine: Is There Lead in Your Chocolate?


The lead is pretty much universally agreed to be due to leaded gasoline, and to a lesser extent lead-containing pesticides. As to Cd, the website of the International Cocoa Organization used to say,
 

It is difficult to assess the source of cadmium content in a plant because it exists everywhere. But some research has shown that for Central American cocoa high cadmium content is related to the specific local constituency of the soil. As opposed to African cocoa kernels which contain 0.08-0.14 mg/kg, values from 0.18-1.5 mg/kg are found in fine cocoa varieties from Venezuela and Ecuador. Volcanic soils have an above average cadmium content.


One might reasonably suspect that they are inclined to focus on "naturally-occurring" sources of contaminants. In their technical sheet for "The Analysis of Cadmium in Chocolate by Graphite Furnace Atomic Absorption Spectrometry," scientific equipment manufacturer Thermo Fisher Scientific says:
 

Cadmium is a heavy metal used in a variety of applications, such as steel plating, as a pigment in plastics and glasses, and in the production of batteries. These industrial activities are the main route through which cadmium is released into the environment where it accumulates in water and soil, and subsequently plants, animals and fish through uptake and ingestion.


 

One question is, "do you really want to eat the butter"? It probably is where most of the calories are, and little of the benefit. .


That the flavanol content of the butter would be lower than that of the powder would be my guess, but I have no evidence either way. Do you?

 


Per the EU Food Phenol Explorer database on food "polyphenols" (so-called), which is a great resource on the subject of phenolics in food:
 

[After drying and any Dutch processing], the nibs are milled to create cocoa liquor (cocoa particles suspended in cocoa butter). [...] Cocoa liquor consists of about 50% cocoa butter and 50% cocoa solids (cocoa powder). ... The cocoa liquor is pressed to extract the cocoa butter, leaving a solid mass. This cocoa mass is dried into cocoa powder. [..] Polyphenols account for approximately 2% w/w of fresh unfermented cocoa beans (349). They are essentially found in the cocoa liquor and powder.


Unless I'm grossly misreading this, they are saying that essentially all of the phenolics are in the water-soluble fracation that becomes the powder, and not the butter. Several less-authoritative sources I've seen assert the same thing. This is consistent with the very low solubility of phenolics in lipids.
 

Navitas Organic Cacao Powder is the best! There is no cadmium in this product. I'm tired of people with their supposedly "new" theories about organic food and how they may be contaminated - such as raw honey. Don't believe it! They probably work for Monsanto!! :ph34r:


First, you'll note that the same source that originally found high levels of Cd in Navitas subsequently recommended another Navitas product in a later report, which is not really consistent with them trying to discredit this or other organic sources:
 

Well, Consumerlab has now updated their report. ... Interestingly, among the few "Best Options", Consumerlab recommends Navitas nibs: they're so packed with flavanols you won't end up consuming much cadmium (and no lead) while getting the recommended 200 mg. flavanols/day.


I wouldn't be too quick to junk your Navitas Nibs as Consumer Labs in that same report says that although an ounce of the nibs has too much cadmium, the amount of flavanolls is extremely high ..... using less that a tablespoon of the nibs produces about 200 mg of Flavanol, which they say is as about as good as it gets


Second, ConsumerLab services the dietary supplement industry and their customers, who are disproportionately concerned about pesticides and contaminants, and it's not in their institutional interests to single out organic products that their corporate partners often sell and their consumer customers often desire.

Third, my overall impression of CL is that they are very credible as an organization. And fourth, "As You Sow" is clearly a heavily anti-Big-Ag, pro-organic organization, and yet their list of high-contaminant products lists a lot of organic products when you include their earlier filings with the State of California on contaminants in chocolate.
 
Now, that's as far as I've gotten with a proper post. But it would be wonderful if "someone" should have a look at these and report back a well-digested summary for the interested community:
 
http://arc.crsociety.org/read.php?2,160899,161101#msg-161101
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1281277/
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1459942/
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1281312/
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1459956/
https://www.google.com/search?q=source+cadmium+chocolate+OR+cocoa&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:unofficial&client=seamonkey-a
https://www.google.com/search?num=40&client=seamonkey-a&rls=org.mozilla%3Aen-US%3Aunofficial&q=ochratoxin+a+in+cocoa+and+chocolate+&oq=ochratoxin+a+in+cocoa+and+chocolate+&gs_l=serp.3..0i22i30l3.4447.4447.0.4783.1.1.0.0.0.0.91.91.1.1.0.msedr...0...1c.1.62.serp..0.1.91.-gWKohBREEA
http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:jgCkBkmgvYEJ:www.ccsenet.org/journal/index.php/sar/article/view/18968+&cd=21&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&client=seamonkey-a
http://www.nutritionaloutlook.com/news/cocoa-products-should-be-monitored-low-level-toxin
http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf040153w
 
I can also email anyone intent on reading original scientific reports the following papers (pardon the sloppy and inconsistent referencing):
 
"Cadmium and Lead in Chocolates Commercialized in Brazil"
Javier E. L. Villa, Rafaella R. A. Peixoto, and Solange Cadore
dx.doi.org/10.1021/jf5026604 | J. Agric. Food Chem. XXXX, XXX, XXX−XXX
 
Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 55:620–659 (2015)
ISSN: 1040-8398 / 1549-7852 online
DOI: 10.1080/10408398.2012.669428
Cocoa: Agronomy, Quality, Nutritional, and Health Aspects
NEELA BADRIE,1 FRANCES BEKELE,2 ELZBIETA SIKORA,3
and MAREK SIKORA
 
Food Additives and Contaminants
Vol. 28, No. 6, June 2011, 762–766
Ochratoxin A in cocoa and chocolate sampled in Canada
A.-M. Turcotte and P.M. Scott
 
Co-occurrence of ochratoxin a and aflatoxins in chocolate marketed in Brazil
Marina V. Copetti, Beatriz T. Iamanaka b, José Luís Pereira c, Daniel P. Lemes b, Felipe Nakano b,
Marta H. Taniwaki 
Food Control 26 (2012) 36-41
 
Chocolate/Cocoa Parkinson's References
1: Wolz M, Kaminsky A, Löhle M, Koch R, Storch A, Reichmann H. Chocolate consumption is increased in Parkinson's disease. Results from a self-questionnaire study. J Neurol. 2009 Mar;256(3):488-92. doi: 10.1007/s00415-009-0118-9. Epub 2009 Mar 13. PubMed PMID: 19277767.
 
2: Wolz M, Schleiffer C, Klingelhöfer L, Schneider C, Proft F, Schwanebeck U, Reichmann H, Riederer P, Storch A. Comparison of chocolate to cacao-free white chocolate in Parkinson's disease: a single-dose, investigator-blinded, placebo-controlled, crossover trial. J Neurol. 2012 Nov;259(11):2447-51. doi: 10.1007/s00415-012-6527-1. Epub 2012 May 15. PubMed PMID: 22584952.
 
3: Sengupta T, Mohanakumar KP. 2-Phenylethylamine, a constituent of chocolate and wine, causes mitochondrial complex-I inhibition, generation of hydroxyl radicals and depletion of striatal biogenic amines leading to psycho-motor dysfunctions in Balb/c mice. Neurochem Int. 2010 Nov;57(6):637-46. doi: 10.1016/j.neuint.2010.07.013. Epub 2010 Aug 4. PubMed PMID: 20691235.
 
4: Borah A, Paul R, Mazumder MK, Bhattacharjee N. Contribution of β-phenethylamine, a component of chocolate and wine, to dopaminergic neurodegeneration: implications for the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease. Neurosci Bull. 2013 Oct;29(5):655-60. doi: 10.1007/s12264-013-1330-2. Epub 2013 Apr 10. Review. PubMed PMID: 23575894.

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Guest ilani

Thank you for thus information. I too am very cocerned about the amount of heavy metals found in Cacoa. Anything new regarding this topic?

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Guest Jamie MIchaela

Here is the list of "good" (least contaminated) chocolates that I found at Rodale's:

 

Cleanest Bars, Powders, and Nibs
• Baker's Unsweetened Baking Chocolate Bar, All Natural 100 percent cocoa
• Endangered Species Chocolate, Natural Dark Chocolate with 88 percent cocoa (Non-GMO, gluten-Free)
• Ghirardelli Chocolate Intense Dark Twilight Delight, 72 percent cacao
• Green & Black Organic 85 percent Cacao Bar
• Hershey's Special Dark Chocolate Bar
• Lindt Excellence 90 percent Cocoa Supreme Dark
• Trader Joe's 72 percent Cacao Dark Chocolate
• CocoVia powder
• Navitas Naturals Cacao Nibs*

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Hi Jamie,

 

It looks like you found this list from this article, right? (Always good to link or cite your sources). You'll note that it's derived from the ConsumerLab study where the original information on this thread came from.

 

Is this your first time posting? Do me and you and everyone on the Forum a favor: register on the Forums and log in each time before you post! It's fine if you want to use a pseudonym, but registering and logging in will ensure that you can't be impersonated and will make it easier to keep track of your (you can set up your preferences to send you an email when someone responds to one of your posts or a thread in which you're interested), input, and progress.

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Dean, interesting article. Of course, many of us are soaking and, where possible, sprouting our phytate-containing foods in order to minimize phytates....

 

Also, a plant-based diet will reduce the absorption of essential minerals, as well.

 

That said, this -- metal/mineral absorption -- is a realm where I tend not to worry too much about studies trying to tease out mechanisms, and just rest content with the widely observed phenomenon that cultures with heavily plant-based diets tend to be longer-lived.

 

- Brian

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All,

 

I delve into depth on the issue Michael addressed much earlier in this thread of the potential link between chocolate and Parkinson's Disease in this thread: So Why Don't We Brew Our Chocolate? Short summary, I doesn't appear to me like the latest science supports the linkage, despite Michael's reservations.

 

It also discusses a potential solution to the problems of cadmium, other heavy metals, and saturated fat in chocolate, by, as you may have guessed from the thread's title, suggesting we might brew chocolate like we brew coffee. By discarding the grounds and drinking the brewed chocolate liquid, we are likely to get the beneficial polyphenols while avoiding the harmful cadmium and (likely) harmful saturated fat.

 

--Dean

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Dean, thanks, great idea!

 

But I return to my question:

 

Of course, another question is whether people on CR benefit from flavanols (and from all the other supplements we take...).

 

Just as with the resveratrol studies, one can wonder whether lean, healthy, exercising people -- let alone people on a strict, carefully maintained CR diet -- would benefit from substances which show benefit in a more normal population.

 

- Brian

 

 

 

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Just as with the resveratrol studies, one can wonder whether lean, healthy, exercising people -- let alone people on a strict, carefully maintained CR diet -- would benefit from substances which show benefit in a more normal population.

 

Good question Brian. Here is my perspective, in response to Martin in the above referenced "brewing our chocolate" thread:

 

My philosophy is to eat (and drink!) a wide variety of foods for which there is evidence of beneficial health effects, and eat them in relatively small quantities to minimize the risk of excessive exposure to any one harmful substance. Chocolate is one such 'functional' food.

Put another way, you got to eat something. And just because we eat Impeccably and practice other healthy lifestyle strategies doesn't make us invulnerable. Cancer can strike the healthiest of people, simply due to bad luck...

 

So we might as well make whatever we eat and drink as healthy as possible, based on the available science. Chocolate, with its polyphenols, seem like one of those substances with health-promoting characteristics, not to mention the pleasure we get from eating (or drinking) it. So it seems worthwhile to include it in one's diet, in moderation and in a form that minimizes the chances of it doing us harm.

 

--Dean

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Chocolate lovers,

 

For anyone who remains concerned about cadmium in chocolate, you might consider increasing your dietary zinc intake, or supplementing with zinc. This study published a couple months ago [1] shows that high dietary and urinary zinc is associated with decreased cadmium levels in the blood. This is likely to result from the fact that zinc competes with cadmium for absorption, just like it competes with copper. 

 

As some people may know, there are a ton complex interactions between minerals (and vitamins). Here is a graphic illustrating some of the better known interactions:

mineral-wheel-240.jpg

 

As far as I understand the mineral wheel diagram (I'm no expert), a single arrow between two minerals indicates the mineral at the origin of the arrow is necessary for (or facilitates) absorption of the mineral at the destination of the arrow. Double arrows pointing at each other indicate the two minerals compete for absorption, so high levels of one could be expected to reduce absorption of the other. As you can see, there is a double arrow between zinc (Zn) and cadmium (Cd) indicating competition. Same for zinc and copper. Delicate balance. Very complicated...

 

--Dean 

 

-------------

[1] J Nutr. 2015 Dec;145(12):2741-8. doi: 10.3945/jn.115.223099. Epub 2015 Oct 21.

 

Zinc Intake Is Associated with Lower Cadmium Burden in US Adults.

 

Vance TM(1), Chun OK(2).

 

Author information: 

(1)Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT.

(2)Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT

ock.chun@uconn.edu.

 

BACKGROUND: Cadmium is a toxic transition metal whose absorption and accumulation

might depend on zinc intake.

OBJECTIVE: We sought to determine whether zinc intake and serum zinc would be

inversely associated with cadmium exposure.

METHODS: This study used data from NHANES 2003-2012, from which there were 6678

and 6488 participants with urinary and blood cadmium data, respectively, and 1195

participants with serum zinc data. Mean blood and urinary cadmium were reported

by quintiles of zinc intake and by the dose and duration of zinc supplement use. 

The associations between zinc intake from diet and supplements, serum zinc, and

blood and urinary cadmium were determined using multiple regression. Analyses

were adjusted for age, body mass index, race/ethnicity, gender, income-to-poverty

ratio, education, smoking status, and mean intakes of energy, calcium, and iron.

RESULTS: Urinary cadmium concentrations were 0.04 μg/g creatinine lower among

participants in the highest compared with lowest quintile of total zinc intake

(P-trend = 0.0041). Zinc supplement dose and duration were inversely associated

with blood cadmium (P = 0.0372) and serum zinc (P-trend = 0.0017), respectively. 

In adjusted regression models, a 10% increase in total zinc intake corresponded

to a predicted decrease in blood cadmium of 0.42% (95% CI: -0.79%, -0.06%; P =

0.0260) and in urinary cadmium of 0.42% (95% CI: -0.81%, -0.04%; P = 0.0340). A

10% increase in serum zinc was associated with a predicted 1.99% (95% CI: -3.17%,

-0.81%; P = 0.0012) decrease in blood cadmium and a predicted 4.09% (95% CI:

2.14%, 6.04%, P = 0.0001) increase in urinary cadmium.

CONCLUSIONS: Dietary and serum zinc in US adults are associated with cadmium

exposure, presumably by influencing the absorption and accumulation of cadmium.

Whether the degree of reduction in cadmium exposure from greater zinc intake and 

status is causal or relevant from a public health perspective needs further

investigation.

 

© 2015 American Society for Nutrition.

 

PMID: 26491124

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Regarding zinc, bear in mind to be cautious about excessive supplementation:  The Oregon State University page on this is very comprehensive.  (They have greatly expanded it from the last time I saw it, and it was pretty thorough before!.)  Here is a quote from it:

 

"Adverse effects

The major consequence of long-term consumption of excessive zinc is copper deficiency. Total zinc intakes of 60 mg/day (50 mg supplemental and 10 mg dietary zinc) have been found to result in signs of copper deficiency. Copper deficiency has also been reported following chronic use of excessive amounts of zinc-containing denture creams (>2 tubes per week containing 17-34 mg/g of zinc; 99). In order to prevent copper deficiency, the US Food and Nutrition Board set the tolerable upper intake level (UL) for adults at 40 mg/day, including dietary and supplemental zinc."

 

In the light of this, note that most zinc supplement pills I have seen contain 50mg of zinc.  So if you take one daily, that pill alone provides more than the daily upper limit on top of which at least some more will be being provided by food.

 

But based on my experience, fwiw, anyone eating zero or only small amounts of animal products will certainly be appreciably deficient zinc.  So supplementation, imo, is essential for those on diets with minimal animal products.  But for me, one 50mg pill per WEEK brings my intake right up to the RDA. 

  

Another piece of evidence suggesting modest zinc supplementation may be vitally important, was a study of the Cu/Zn blood ratio in the elderly.  It found an absolutely extraordinary seven times higher mortality among those in the highest tertile of the ratio than those in the lowest tertile, over a followup period of a mere four years.  Presumably it would have been even greater if they had compared quintiles?  

 

Apparently, there is not much one can do to shift one's blood copper level.  So it may be possible to lower this ratio by supplementation with an appropriate amount of zinc. 

 

It appears that a ratio of Cu/Zn of 1.0 is excellent, while 2.0 would be in advise-the-funeral-home territory.  Mine was 1.25, certainly in the lowest tertile, but it would be nice if it were a little lower.  I have found it difficult to get doctors to order this test because they don't have anything to *prescribe* based on the result of it.  But you can tell the doctor, of course, that you plan to supplement zinc if the ratio isn't where you want it to be. 

 

In order to get my blood tested I took the full text of the paper with me - this has been posted about here previously - and when I met resistance to the idea of doing ANY tests, I brought it out and started lecturing this clueless twit of an excuse of a doctor about the details of it.  She snatched the paper out of my hand and ran out the door.  She didn't come back for 20 minutes - I timed it.  When she came back she ordered the test without further discussion.  I have since been irregularly supplementing 50 mg per week so I hope my number may now be closer to 1.0 than before. 

 

Rodney.

 

==========

 

"The unverified conventional wisdom is almost invariably mistaken."

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Thank Rodney,

 

I know of the importance of balancing zinc and copper. Many of us get way more copper in our diets than zinc. In my case, ~800% of the RDA of copper (7.5mg) vs. only ~200% of the RDA of zinc (19mg). In order to compensate for this imbalance, I supplement with 25mg extra zinc per day, which is down from 50mg per day which I was taking up until recently but I (and Michael - thanks Michael!) considered too high.

 

I'm definitely going to take your advice and get my serum zinc/copper ratio tested when I get my next (self-funded) blood tests in a few months.

 

--Dean

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Hi,

 

I'm a newbie and registered just to post my response on cadmium in cocoa powder as a FYI.  I found CR due to googling on this, and as a customer of Trader Joe's and a user of their cocoa baking powder in my afternoon drink I have been very concerned regarding heavy metal toxicity and the Consumer Labs report.  CR seems to be one of the most active forums discussing the potential problems, but I couldn't find anything specific when it came to the CL report and Trader Joe's.  When I asked in the store I got the response that "Consumer Labs put out a report that lied and they never contacted us.  We are TJ's and we only put out natural and healthy products... if it was a problem we wouldn't have it on our shelves.  Of course we check stuff like this but we don't have any more information to provide you with."  Definitely an unsatisfactory response, but I did eventually reach someone in Customer Service who was happy to help and finally got a number of answers from Trader Joe's on their product and wanted to pass it on:

 

Alkali used in processing - no

Cadmium <0.6 ppm or it doesn't ship to their stores (so it could be less, but this is the max allowable)

Lead <0.0001 ppm or it doesn't ship to their stores (so it could be less, but this is the max allowable)

Polyphenols - 4 grams per 100 grams of product (I actually asked about flavanols, but since it isn't a nutritional supplement they don't measure/track it and she provided polyphenol levels instead)

 

Long story short, I think I feel good about continuing to use their cocoa powder.  In comparing their response to Kevala's (provided by Brian), it seems like they are somewhat comparable and ok.  Correct me if I'm wrong and thanks!

 

Quote

Thank your concern about this matter. We do test cadmium and lead in our products. We have a specification of <3 ppm in both elements.
 
Last COA results for cadmium were 0.356 ppm and for lead <0.002 ppm. Which comply with Kevala Standards. Let me know if you have any more questions.
 
 
Dave

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Thanks Dave and Welcome to the CR forums!

 

That is very helpful information to know about Trader Joe's cocoa powder. I'm impressed a big company like TJ's was willing and able to give you that data. It does look pretty reasonable.

 

--Dean

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