SEOUL, Jun. 13 (Korea Bizwire) — Smoking and drinking could contribute to the accumulation of heavy metals inside the human body, according to a report released by the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS) on Tuesday.
The report from the MFDS found a link between unhealthy habits such as drinking and smoking, and the accumulation of heavy metals after monitoring a sample of 4,000 people in 2010 and analyzing the differences with another sample of 870 in 2015 with regard to diet and lifestyle.
Shocking findings from the report revealed those who drink over four times a week were found to have accumulated 54 percent more lead, 11 percent more cadmium and 89 percent more mercury than those who don’t drink as much.
A similar pattern was observed among smokers who were found to carry more of the same types of heavy metals in their body than non-smokers.
The trend was most apparent among men who both smoke and drank heavily, as their heavy metal accumulation was twice as high as other men.
The MFDS says there is a close connection between the lack of calcium and iron — two nutrients thought to reduce the toxicity of harmful heavy metals — found in the unbalanced diets of heavy drinkers and the high accumulation of heavy metals.
Excessive alcohol consumption could block the body from absorbing nutrients such as calcium, iron, and folic acid while weakening the immune system, hindering macrophages’ ability to get rid of toxic heavy metals.
Since most of the accumulation of heavy metals occurs through diet, medical experts recommend a well-balanced diet for those who wish to reduce the accumulation of heavy metals in their body.
In fact, during the experiment conducted by the MFDS, groups that shared a diet that relied heavily on rich sources of calcium and iron such as fish and dairy products experienced a 30 percent drop in their accumulation of heavy metals.
“If you abstain from drinking and smoking altogether and keep a healthy and balanced diet, the accumulation of heavy metals can decrease,” the MFDS said.