Health Impacts of Cadmium Toxicity

Cadmium Toxicity

Energy Levels

Cadmium inhibits cellular respiration and damages some of the enzymes in the body’s energy cycle.

Nervous System

Cadmium inhibits the release of many biochemicals, including those necessary for calcium metabolism, enzyme activity and cellular membrane functions. Cadmium also causes haemorrhages in the autonomic ganglia, kills secondary nerve cells and causes direct damage to nerve cells, particularly nerve fibres. Peripheral neuropathy can also result from this damage.

Musculo-Skeletal System

Cadmium interferes in calcium and phosphorous metabolism which can result in osteoporosis, osteomalacia and arthritic conditions. When cadmium interference with zinc metabolism it can result in the neuromuscular dysfunctions associated with zinc deficiency.


When cadmium replaces zinc in the arterial walls, reduced flexibility and strength of the arteries occurs. The arteries then become coated to prevent aneurysms which results in plaque, narrowing of the arteries and hypertension.

Digestive System

Cadmium’s interference with zinc-dependent enzymes can result in impaired digestion.

Reproductive System

Cadmium can contribute to a decrease in libido, impotence and prostate difficulties by interfering with zinc-dependent enzymes and cellular energy production.

Foetus Malformations

Birth defects, probably due to zinc deficiency caused by cadmium displacement, have been observed in mice, rats and hamsters.


Cadmium causes alterations in calcium and vitamin D metabolism which can result in dental caries and tooth deformities.

Endocrine/Metabolic System

Growth impairment and the failure to thrive syndrome are often associated with cadmium toxicity. Zinc is essential for normal growth. As zinc is essential for normal growth, cadmium toxicity can cause growth impairment and a failure to thrive.

Excretory System

The presence of cadmium in the kidneys causes tubular damage which can result in high blood pressure and other renal diseases.


Cadmium toxicity can be the cause of psoriasis, eczema and slow wound healing.


A cadmium induced zinc deficiency is associated with hyperactivity and learning disabilities. Cadmium’s inhibition of the release of acetycholine may result in hyperkinetic behaviour.


Alcoholism is frequently associated with a zinc deficiency so cadmium may play a part in alcoholism due to its effect upon zinc metabolism.

Hair Loss

Loss of hair is commonly associated with a cadmium-induced zinc deficiency.


Anaemia is an early indication of cadmium toxicity.

Osteo and Rheumatoid Arthritis

Inadequate protein synthesis occurs when zinc is displaced by cadmium. This interferes with regeneration of joint surfaces leading to painful inflammation of the joints.

Inhibited Bone Repair

Cadmium displaces calcium and zinc in bone structures. Both of these minerals are needed for repairing bones so cadmium toxicity can cause weak bones.


Cadmium toxicity can cause demineralization of the bones and total suppression of bone repair mechanisms.


Cadmium toxicity is closely associated with various cancers. Cadmium’s interference with zinc-dependent enzymes may be the link to malignancy. A high percentage of cancer patients show high levels of cadmium levels in tissue mineral analysis tests.

Cardiovascular Disease

Sufferers of cardiovascular disease, particularly stroke victims, show high cadmium levels in their body tissues. Arteries weakened by cadmium-induced zinc deficiency become coated with fatty or calcium plaques to protect against a rupture and if some of this plaque breaks free it can lodge in an artery and cause a stroke.

Cerebral Haemorrhage

Cadmium toxicity causes weakness and hardening of cerebral arteries. When vascular elasticity is diminished there is in an increased tendency for cerebral haemorrhage.


Zinc is essential for the production, release and transport of insulin. When cadmium interferes with zinc metabolism, a diabetic condition can be initiated or aggravated. No wonder diabetes is increasing throughout the world. An estimated 280 Australians are diagnosed with diabetes EVERY DAY!


Cadmium replaces the zinc found in collagen and this impairment of collagen production causes brittleness and breakage of the delicate alveoli in the lungs. Cadmium inhaled in cigarette smoke also generally irritates the lungs.


Cadmium toxicity is a major cause of hypertension. Cadmium impairs kidney function and causes hardening of the arteries resulting in high blood pressure.


A cadmium-induced zinc deficiency is a frequent cause of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).

Impaired Liver Function

Cadmium toxicity may decrease the liver’s ability to detoxify iron so haemochromatosis (excessive iron in the tissues) may be due to a cadmium-induced deficiency of zinc and copper preventing the detoxification process. A zinc deficiency in the liver can also cause a rise in cholesterol. Levels of other fats may also be adversely affected when liver function is impaired. Cadmium-induced zinc deficiency impairs detoxification of alcohol in the liver causing cirrhosis of the liver. Heavy drinkers should definitely be taking zeolite regularly.


The kidneys retain sodium when their action is impaired by cadmium toxicity and this effect can induce an inflammatory process. As zinc has an anti-inflammatory effect, its deficiency can increase this inflammation. Cadmium concentration in the kidneys contributes to renal arteriosclerosis (a narrowing of the renal artery which can cause hypertension). When cadmium accumulates in the kidneys it causes renal dysfunction which affects calcium, vitamin D, phosphorous and sodium levels resulting in renal hypertension and other metabolic disorders.

The above information is based mainly on articles by Analytical Research Labs Inc, Phoenix, Arizona. 

Australian Certified Organic superfine zeolite powder traps and removes cadmium. Available from Zeo Natural in 400 g resealable food grade bags, wholesale and retail.


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