The internet can be toxic
Seriously dangerous: Poisonous heavy metals
What is the legal situation like?
Since July 1, 2009, the EU has also had maximum levels for some heavy metals in food supplements. These are regulated in Regulation (EC) No. 629/2008: According to this, a lead content of a maximum of 3.0 mg / kg and a mercury content of a maximum of 0.1 mg / kg is permitted. Cadmium may contain a maximum of 1.0 mg / kg, unless it comes mainly from seaweed, in which case it is a maximum of 3.0 mg / kg.
Highly contaminated products must be withdrawn from the market. The manufacturers or importers are responsible for compliance with the values.
What about Ayurvedic Supplements?
Ayurvedic dietary supplements in particular can contain heavy metals, especially lead, mercury and arsenic, in some cases deliberately based on traditional manufacturing practices. This is proven by various studies on dietary supplements. The Federal Environment Ministry reported on food supplements that were found in Finland in 2008 and contained 25-40 mg / kg mercury, i.e. up to 400 times the current maximum.
An American study showed that around 40% of all users of Ayurvedic nutritional supplements have elevated levels of lead in their blood. (Inorganic) arsenic is also a problem as it is considered to be carcinogenic.
Anyone who takes Ayurveda products and constantly complains of symptoms such as nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, loss of appetite or physical weakness should discontinue the preparations and definitely consult a doctor who will clarify whether there are any signs of heavy metal poisoning. Before giving Ayurvedic drugs to children, the pediatrician should be asked about them.
In 2012, according to the American health authorities, six pregnant women who had taken various Ayurvedic products from India were poisoned with lead, which can cause severe damage to the nervous system of the fetus.
In 2015, several cases of poisoning as a result of contaminated Ayurveda drugs became known nationwide, many of them probably from Sri Lanka. In one case, the mercury content of an Ayurveda pill is said to have exceeded the permitted limit by 2.3 million times. The information from the Federal Foreign Office at that time in the travel advice for Sri Lanka is no longer available.
Schöberl K (2014): Heavy metals and toxic trace elements - balance 2013. CVUA Karlsruhe, as of: May 27, 2014 (accessed on March 12, 2021)
Höber A: Toxic lead in food supplements, report on NDR television, February 15, 2016 (no longer available in the media library)
Regulation (EC) No. 629/2008 of July 2nd, 2008
Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety: Maximum levels for lead, cadmium and mercury in food supplements. Status: 05/21/2015
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (2012): Lead Poisoning in Pregnant Women Who Used Ayurvedic Medications from India New York City, 2011-2012. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 61 (33): 641-6, 2012 (accessed on March 12, 2021)
Dangerous pills from Sri Lanka. Doctors newspaper online from November 6th, 2015 (accessed on March 12th, 2021)
Ayurveda certification mark (accessed on March 12, 2021)
Bauer-Aymanns H et al. (2014): Mercury - a problem in food supplements containing chondroitin? (accessed on March 12, 2021)
LAVES Niedersachsen: Heavy metals in Ayurvedic food supplements? (accessed on March 12, 2021)
Breeher L et al. (2015): A cluster of lead poisoning among consumers of Ayurvedic medicine. Int J Occup Environ Health 21 (4): 303-7
Joob B, Wiwanitkit V (2015): Arsenic contamination in Thai Ayurveda products and cancer risk estimation. Indian J Cancer 52 (4): 489
European Rapid Alert System, accessed on March 12, 2021
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