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Environ Res. 2001 Oct;87(2):81-91.

Cadmium bioavailability from edible sunflower kernels: a long-term study with men and women volunteers.

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U.S. Department of Agriculture, Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center, Agricultural Research Service, 2420 Second Avenue North, Grand Forks, North Dakota, 58203, USA.


Sunflower kernels (SFK) contain natural Cd in somewhat higher amounts than most other foods. This study was designed to determine if a change in the body burden of Cd could be measured in volunteers who consumed a controlled amount of SFK for 48 weeks. Healthy men and women between 23 and 59 years of age were divided into three groups each by age, sex, and weight. For 48 weeks, one group consumed 255 g (9 oz) of SFK/week, a second group consumed 113 g SFK and 142 g peanuts/week, and a third group consumed 255 g peanuts/week. SFK contained 0.52 microg Cd/g and peanuts contained 0.11 microg Cd/g. The consumption of 255 g SFK/week increased the average estimated intake of Cd from approximately 65 to approximately 175 microg/week. Although the consumption of Cd-containing SFK significantly increased the estimated Cd intake, there were no significant changes in Cd concentration in red blood cells, Cd excretion in the urine, or Cd concentrations in new hair growth. However, fecal Cd excretion significantly increased as the amount of SFK consumption increased. N-Acetyl-beta-D-glucosaminidase, a marker for kidney dysfunctions, was not significantly changed by consuming SFK-Cd. Overall, the results suggest that the consumption of Cd in the form of SFK at 9 oz (255 g)/week for 48 week had no adverse effect on the body burden of Cd.

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