To the Editor: We are gratified that, in his
Editorial1 accompanying our article,2 Dr Heaney agreed that the labeling of calcium supplements
with their lead levels would be a sound plan. We also share his hope that
calcium intake may attenuate lead absorption; however, this optimism has not
yet been supported by the literature. In the study he cites,3
as well as in the more recent comprehensive findings from the same group,4 the protective effect of calcium was limited to
14-day-old chickens that were calcium deficient. Those authors suggested that
the lead-calcium axis was highly complex and varied with the duration of intake.
Furthermore, the data suggested that some lead absorption may be uncoupled
from calcium transport. Unfortunately, the data that we cited5
failed to confirm the alleged protective effect of dietary calcium in children.
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