The Rise in Blood Lead Levels at Pregnancy and Menopause


[Music] the half-life of lead in the bloodstream it’s only about a month that means if you feed people lead for about a hundred days their blood levels go up and up and then if you stop the lead levels in the blood start to drop such that within about thirty days your lead levels are cut in half and another month cut in half again such that by three or so months your body’s able to remove about ninety percent from your blood stream now if you’re chronically exposed to lead you can have chronically high lead levels in your blood more than half a million kids in the US have concerning lehigh lead levels and poor people in politically disempowered communities of color are at higher risk regardless of age but if you don’t live in those communities aren’t constantly exposed to lead why should you care about dietary strategies to lower the lead level in your own blood if your body is already so good at it even if you get exposed to lead here and there three or four months and 90% of the lead in your blood is gone ah but the question is gone where more than 90 percent of lead in our bodies stored in our bone and instead of a few months to get rid of it how about a few decades so even if we move to some like other planet and had zero further exposure to external sources of lead we still have an internal source of lead leaching the toxic heavy metal into our system throughout our life but if it’s mostly just socked away in our skeleton what’s the big deal well if you were to lose bone all the trapped lead could come flooding back into your system for example when we lose weight we lose bone which makes a lot of sense I mean heavier people have a heavier skeleton greater bone mineral density their body has to maintain stronger bones to carry around all that extra weight so if we lose weight to the levels of lead and our bloodstream go up as our skeleton downsize unfortunately yes but only if we lose a lot of weight I lose ten pounds or so and not much happens but lose more like eighty pounds and the lead levels in your blood can rise two hundred and fifty percent when else can you experience bone loss well osteoporosis obviously women with osteoporosis can lose an average of three percent of their bone mass a year but even healthy postmenopausal women without osteoporosis may lose a percentage of their skeleton annually so did the lead levels in women go up when they lose their periods apparently so a study of nearly 3,000 women found a significant increase in lead levels after menopause providing evidence that bone lead is in fact mobilized into the blood a major implication is that even low level led exposure over a relatively long time may result in increased body burdens of lead which would be releasable in toxicological ii significant amounts during physiological states where your bone is in flux not just osteoporosis but most seriously during pregnancy and lactation now most of the calcium the baby gets comes from increased maternal absorption of dietary calcium the mother’s gut starts absorbing 60 or 70 percent more calcium in the second or third trimester to build the baby skeleton that’s why women’s dietary calcium requirements are not increased by pregnancy or breastfeeding your body’s not stupid when it realizes it needs more calcium it just absorbs more calcium now when that isn’t enough you do end up dipping into the calcium stored in your bones but not a problem after it’s all over your body puts the calcium back into your skeleton such that six months after delivery your bone mineral density is right back where you started that’s why even women who breastfeed for a long time well past those six months in pregnancy after pregnancy after pregnancy after pregnancy end up with no compromise to their bone mineral density later in life whether measured in their wrists spine or hips so so what if your body makes it withdrawal from the bone bank during pregnancy and lactation if it ends up just depositing it all back because of the lead when your body dissolves some of your bone to borrow that extra calcium it releases the lead that’s locked in there at the worst possible moment right when your baby is most vulnerable that’s part of leads toxic legacy what can we do about it we’ll find out next [Music]

23 Replies to “The Rise in Blood Lead Levels at Pregnancy and Menopause”

  1. I've read that high levels of mercury in our environment is due to the burning of coal. Is coal also responsible for high lead levels?

  2. And in next weeks episode, there were no RCTs on lead exposure and levels in fetuses until…….. now or never? Place your bets!

  3. Can you please do a video on the new "Tiny Tummy Patch" developed by: Professor Chen Peng and Assistant Professor Xu Chenjie

  4. Can you do a video about this? https://youtu.be/7HbsyF-xBkc Specifically the iron and zinc part. The studies are in the description.

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