4 Ways Turmeric Benefits In Cadmium Poisoning

Cadmium is a naturally occurring metal present in the environment as a mineral. Cadmium poisoning occurs when an individual ingests high levels of cadmium from food or drinks or inhales cadmium from air till it reaches a toxic level in the body.

Maximum cadmium absorption in the body occurs through inhalation. Women are more prone to cadmium toxicity than men.

Cadmium accumulates in almost all body tissues but mainly in liver, kidney, pancreas and salivary glands.

Excretion rate of cadmium is very low. Cadmium interferes in metabolism by causing damage at the cellular level and disrupting essential enzymatic activity.

Sources of Cadmium exposure


Cadmium toxicity is extremely harmful – google image 

Few of the ways by which an individual is exposed to toxic levels of cadmium are:

  • Eating food that contains high levels of cadmium such as seafood obtained from cadmium intoxicated water or vegetables grown in an environment polluted by cadmium
  • Breathing high levels of cadmium from air
  • Drinking cadmium intoxicated water
  • Tobacco smoking or breathing cigarette smoke

Occupational exposure to cadmium occurs in metal smelting industries or refineries or in a plant that produces cadmium-containing products like batteries, pigments, plastics etc.

Acute exposure to cadmium can cause symptoms similar to flu-like chills, body ache and weakness. Severe exposure can result in inflammation of the respiratory organs and kidney damage.

In the blood cadmium moves to the red blood cell where it combines with a protein (metallothionein) which is a binding site for zinc and cadmium.

Cadmium replaces zinc and causes disorders related to zinc deficiency.

Effects of Cadmium toxicity on the body system

Few of the body systems that cadmium toxicity affects are:

  • Excretory system: It causes irreversible damage to the kidneys and disabling them from filtering blood. This leads to low phosphate levels (hypophosphatemia) and high acidity in the blood (hyperuricemia).
  • Cardiovascular system: It reduces the elasticity of body vessels thus causing atherosclerosis, hypertension etc.
  • musculoskeletal system: Bones become soft (osteomalacia) and lose density (osteoporosis). Joints are susceptible to gout a form of arthritis caused by deposition of uric acid crystals in joints. This is due to the improper functioning of kidneys.
  • Respiratory system: It damages lung tissue leading to swelling and accumulation of green mucus.

There is no effective treatment for cadmium toxicity. Therapeutic approaches involve elimination of existing cadmium deposits from the body, balancing mineral nutrition through diet and reducing exposure.


Turmeric or Haldi, a spice native to India, has been researched upon as a therapeutic agent for cadmium poisoning and this article goes over the scientific evidence for the same.

Role of turmeric in treating Cadmium poisoning

A number of studies have explored the effect of turmeric against cadmium poisoning and they have generated positive results, few of which we will try to understand in the following sections

1. Curcumin acts as a chelating agent

Chelation is a technique by which ions and molecules bind to each other and this principle is utilized in heavy metal detoxification from the body.

The chelating agent shows an affinity towards a particular metal and binds to it strongly thus facilitating its isolation and removal from the body.

A study examined the effect of curcumin against cadmium-induced damage to the brain tissue in rats.

Cadmium caused significant lipid peroxidation in the brain tissue.

Lipid peroxidation is the degradation of fats and related compounds found in cell membranes by reactive oxygen species and this damage can lead to cell death.

Results showed that curcumin strongly protected the tissues against such damage by chelating cadmium from the tissue and thus displaying its potential to protect against neurotoxicity by cadmium.

2. It serves as a powerful antioxidant


It has been proven that the antioxidant and chelating properties of curcumin are useful in protecting blood vessels from curcumin-induced damage.

Curcumin protected the blood vessels from toxic effects of cadmium, normalized the increased blood pressure and prevented accumulation of cadmium in blood and other organs.

Curcumin enhanced the activity of a protein (nitric oxide synthase protein) that helps blood vessels to push blood through the circulatory system.

It also reduced the oxidative stress (imbalance between pro-oxidant agents and the body’s natural antioxidant defenses) in the blood vessels.

3 natural antioxidants- curcumin, resveratrol, and melatonin were evaluated for their anti-oxidative effect against cadmium-induced oxidative damage.

In the control group, cadmium was found to increase lipid peroxidation and decrease the level of antioxidant enzymes.

Curcumin, resveratrol, and melatonin oral pre-treatment completely prevented lipid peroxidation, improved the antioxidant defenses and also protected the liver from toxic effects of cadmium.

3. It protects from inflammation

Cadmium accumulation in the body triggers inflammation and leads to the production of inflammation-causing agents.

The effect of drinking water polluted by cadmium chloride (40mg/l) on pro-inflammatory mediators was evaluated.

The toxic water elevated the levels of proteins like TNF-α and IL-6 which play important roles in the progression of inflammation

The water also caused lipid peroxidation and reduced the total antioxidant capacity of the system.

Curcumin was administered orally and results showed that curcumin brought down the levels of pro-inflammatory mediators and also reduced oxidative stress by employing its anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties.


4. It protects organs from cadmium-induced toxicity

Curcumin is known to alleviate the effects of acute cadmium toxicity on the male reproductive system in rats.

Curcumin was administered at a dose of 1mg/kg and 100mg/kg per day along with cadmium chloride.

It was seen that acute cadmium toxicity caused oxidative stress, swelling, decreased sperm motility and sperm concentration.

However, curcumin treatment was found to reverse these effects to a certain extent, thus suggesting that curcumin can be used to prevent cadmium chloride-induced reproductive damage.

Similarly other studies show how curcumin treatment protects the brain, liver and blood vessels from cadmium toxicity.

Source: turmericforhealth


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