Physiological Roles
Dietary Sources
Suggested Intake
Absorption and Excretion

I.  Physiological Roles

  1. Numerous animal studies have indicated As is essential, but its physiological role has not been clearly defined
  2. As may be involved in methionine metabolism

II.  Dietary Sources

  1. Cereals, bread, starchy vegetables, meats and fish
  2. Industrial contamination in areas near smelters and refineries

III.  Suggested estimated daily dietary intake (EDDI) for humans is 12-50 ug As/d

IV.  Arsenic as it usually occurs in foods is readily absorbed and rapidly excreted

V.  Deficiency

  1. Decreased S-adenosylmethionine and increased S-adenosylhomocysteine in rats.
  2. Death of goats during lactation due to ultrastructural changes in heart muscle (Exp. Pathol. 25:195, 1984)

VI.  Toxicity

  1. Inorganic forms are more toxic than organic forms of As
  2. Chronic As poisoning is seldom reported
    1. Chronic low As administration has improved appearance of hair of cattle
    2. 100 ppm arsenilic acid has been recommended as a growth promotant for swine
    3. Signs of chronic arsenic intoxication
      1. Inflamed mucus membranes of upper respiratory tract
      2. Diarrhea
      3. eczema
      4. Incoordination of gait
  3. Acute As poisoning
    1. Colicky pain, vomiting, diarrhea
    2. Death within a few days
  4. Maximum tolerable levels
    1. 50 ppm for inorganic forms
    2. 100 ppm for organic form

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