The common toxin that’s making women over 40 so, so tired
Incidence of arsenic overload is on the rise, triggering an epidemic of fatigue. “Arsenic doesn’t just steal your energy, it stops you from producing it,” asserts David Brownstein, M.D., medical director of the Center for Holistic Medicine in West Bloomfield, Michigan. The heavy metal interferes with the creation of ATP, the molecule that powers every cell in the body. But despite the fact that every one of us is exposed to arsenic to some degree, 95 percent of affected women go undiagnosed. The reason: Few doctors link the vague symptoms like fatigue and fog to the heavy metal.
“Surprisingly, some foods we consider healthy are high in arsenic,” Dr. Brownstein says. Top culprits: water, rice (which absorbs arsenic from the soil), items sweetened with brown rice syrup, and cruciferous veggies (arsenic in soil binds to their sulfur compounds).
Hair testing is the best way to detect chronic low-level arsenic exposure, which is especially key as we age— studies suggest 65 percent of those with high arsenic are over 50. And the simple steps below can greatly limit exposure and restore vitality.
Filtering water removes 99 percent of arsenic. Dr. Brownstein advises testing your H2O with a low-range test kit (like Arsenic Low Range Quick, $40, SenSafe.com). If it’s positive, try using a filter (like ZeroWater 6 Cup Pitcher, $20, Target.com). Also smart: Use filtered water to cook rice and cruciferous veggies since water used to boil or steam can add to the arsenic already in the food.
To detox the body, Dr. Brownstein suggests taking 600 mg of EDTA daily with food. The synthetic amino acid binds to heavy metals so the body can eliminate them. (Find EDTA at healthfood stores and Amazon.com.)