Submitted to: Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/15/2007
Publication Date: 7/14/2008
Citation: Zhao, Z.Y., Liang, L., Fan, X., Yu, Z., Hotchkiss, A.T., Wilk, B.J., Eliaz, I. 2008. The role of modified citrus pectin as a safe and effective chelator of lead in children hospitalized with toxic lead levels. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine. 14(4):34-38.
Interpretive Summary: The enormous volume of fruit and vegetable processing residues, such as orange peels and sugar beet pulp, represents an underutilized domestic resource of valuable health-promoting compounds. These residues have been used as cattle feed ingredients, but as such their value is low (under $0.05/pound) and there is more supply than demand for cattle feed. However, these residues are rich in valuable functional carbohydrates such as pectin. Pectin is a plant carbohydrate traditionally used in jelly and jam production. Modified citrus pectin is a dietary supplement commercial product consisting of pectin fragments with demonstrated efficacy to prevent the recurrence of prostate cancer in men. We demonstrate for the first time that modified citrus pectin increases the urinary excretion of lead in Chinese children hospitalized for toxic levels of this heavy metal. Additional knowledge developed in this study allows for a better understanding of the structure-function relationhips for pectin fragments that also enhance the growth of health-promoting gut bacteria, inhibit the binding of food pathogen toxins, and promote the cell death of colon cancer cells. These orange juice processing co-products meet a major need of U.S. citrus growers and processors; to add value to citrus processing residues. Public consumers will also benefit from the medical outcomes of this research.
Technical Abstract: Context: Lead toxicity is an ongoing concern world wide, and children, the most vulnerable to the long lasting effects of lead exposure, are in urgent need of a safe effective heavy metal chelating agent to overcome the heavy metals and lead exposure challenges they face day to day. Objective: This clinical study was performed to determine if the oral administration of modified citrus pectin (PectaSol®) is effective at lowering lead toxicity in the blood of children between the ages of 5 and 12 years. Method: Hospitalized Children with a blood serum level greater than 20 µg/dl as measured by graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrometry (GFAAS), who had not received any form of chelating and/or detoxification medication for three months prior were given 15 grams of modified citrus pectin in three divided dosages a day. Blood serum and twenty four hour urine excretion collection GFAAS analysis were performed on day 0, day 14, day 21, and day 28. Result: This study showed a dramatic decrease in blood serum levels of lead (P Value = 0.0016; 161% average change), and a dramatic increase in twenty four hour urine collection (P Value = 0.0007; 132% average change). Conclusion: The need for a gentle safe heavy metal chelating agent, especially for children with high environmental chronic exposure is in great need. The dramatic results in this study show that modified citrus pectin could be such an agent.