Arsenic in Food: What You Need to Know

Arsenic in Food: What You Need to Know

Tasteless and odorless, arsenic may appear innocuous enough; but, as you likely know, it’s a significant toxin. In sufficient quantities, this toxic metal increases oxidation, destroys cells’ ability to create energy and impacts our most critical organs. Even in small amounts, arsenic can affect the digestive system, liver and numerous other areas of the body.

Complicating matters, arsenic seems to be everywhere. It’s found naturally in soil and plants. It’s also used in pesticides, lumber, glass and semiconductors. Arsenic infiltrates water supplies, particularly in rural communities. The Environmental Protection Agency rates safe arsenic levels in water at less than 10 micrograms (millionths of a gram) per liter.


While we like to think regulatory agencies are closely tracking toxins like arsenic, news reports underscore major gaps in oversight. For more than 60 years, farmers have fed poultry feed laced with arsenic, because it makes the animals grow fatter more quickly.

The industry argues that chickens excrete the toxin and little, if any, ends up in the meat. But scientists are finding that this is simply not true. High arsenic levels have also been found in rice and in rice products like brown rice syrup, rice flour, rice vinegar, rice breads and cereal. Research finds that arsenic concentrates in the rice germ that is removed to make white rice. So brown rice, which may be healthier from the perspective of nutrient content, retains higher concentrations of arsenic.

Other studies demonstrate higher levels of arsenic in rice grown in the U.S. than in Thailand or India. The imported rice, however, may have other toxins that aren’t being reported. In the U.S., the southern states were found to produce rice with the highest arsenic levels. California rice had the lowest detected levels. Consumer Reports has a handy chart listing arsenic levels in many rice brands.

Whether we like it or not, the regulators charged with protecting public health are not going to solve these problems anytime soon. We need to be proactive.


Because arsenic seems to be ubiquitous in the environment, food and water supplies, it’s unrealistic to think we can avoid it altogether. Yes, we will have to take added care in choosing our foods (as if we weren’t already being careful) but we need to take these efforts to the next level. We need to support our body’s detoxification capacities.

The first step is to adopt a cleansing diet. Avoid processed foods, white flour and sugar products, as well as non-organic dairy, meat, eggs or poultry. A detoxifying diet generally limits animal protein to smaller portions and emphasizes a colorful variety of vegetables and low glycemic fruits.

Alkaline veggies like greens, celery, avocado and cucumber can be particularly helpful during a cleanse. Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, broccoli sprouts, kale, cauliflower, cabbage) also promote detoxification. Sea vegetables, such as kelp and nori, provide a rich source of trace minerals that are cofactors in the body’s detoxification pathways. Drink filtered water and hydrate with teas and hearty winter soups.

By boosting metabolism, and encouraging the body to sweat, exercise can greatly aid detoxification. Start slowly. A 30-minute walk each day can do wonders, as well as moving meditations, such as yoga and tai chi. These activities also reduce inflammatory stress hormones and boost immunity.

Active Removal

Like lead and mercury, arsenic is a toxic metal. It can be removed using compounds that bind to the metal and help excrete it from the body.  The heavy metal removal formula PectaClear® contains PectaSol-C Modified Citrus Pectin® (MCP) made from the white pith of citrus peels, along with modified alginates derived from brown kelp. This formula provides a gentle, natural way to remove heavy metals. The MCP is absorbed into the circulatory system where it works to bind metals and safely remove them, while alginates work in your GI tract to prevent reabsorption.*

PectaSol-C®  has been well-studied and shown to remove arsenic and other heavy metals without causing side effects or leaching out beneficial minerals. In addition, PectaSol-C promotes immune function and cellular health, making it a valuable ally in any wellness program.*

A Gradual Process

When undertaking detoxification, it’s important to go slowly. The idea is to support our innate detoxification systems, not overwhelm them. It took a while to accumulate toxins, so it may take some time to get them out safely and gently, without side effects. In addition to PectaClear®, there are a variety of herbs, nutrients and botanicals that can also support this process. ecoDetox is an in-depth detox formula with botanicals and nutrients that work synergistically to support our organs of elimination, while providing powerful antioxidant protection and support for vital energy during the detox process.*

Hopefully in time, government agencies will catch up with the problems of toxins in our food supply. In the meantime, we need to pay close attention to our diets, and regularly detoxify in a gentle manner to remove those toxins that escape our diligent efforts.