The role of arsenic in the body isn't well understood. Most adults probably eat about 12-50 mcg of arsenic every day from a usual diet. Some experts have suggested that an average adult should have 12-25 mcg daily.
People use homeopathic preparations of arsenic for arsenic poisoning, COVID-19, seizures, and other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses. Homeopathic preparations are often so dilute that they contain little or no arsenic.
Inorganic arsenic compounds, which are different than organic arsenic, are considered poisonous. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classifies inorganic arsenic as a known cancer-causing agent. The maximum amount of arsenic allowed in drinking water is 10 mcg per liter.
Uses & Effectiveness
- Cancer of the white blood cells (leukemia). A specific, prescription-only form of arsenic (arsenic trioxide, Trisenox) is given by IV for the treatment of a specific cancer of the white blood cells known as acute promyelocytic leukemia. This product can only be given by a healthcare provider.
Special Precautions and Warnings
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Organic arsenic is likely safe when eaten in normal food amounts. But inorganic arsenic, a different form of arsenic, is likely unsafe when taken by mouth while pregnant or breast-feeding. Inorganic arsenic has been linked to miscarriages, stillbirths, and, in some cases, death of the newborninfant. Do not take arsenic supplements if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
Children: Organic arsenic is likely safe when eaten by children in normal food amounts. But inorganic arsenic, a different form of arsenic, is likely unsafe when taken by mouth. Over time, drinking water containing large amounts of inorganic arsenic may lead to high blood pressure and problems with memory, attention, and intelligence in children.
Low levels of folic acid (folic acid deficiency): Folic acid deficiency changes the way the body processes arsenic. Having low levels of folic acid may increase arsenic levels in the body.
Heart problems: The prescription form of arsenic (arsenic trioxide, Trisenox) can affect heart rhythm in some patients. It is possible that non-prescription forms of arsenic might have similar effects.
Medications that can cause an irregular heartbeat (QT interval-prolonging drugs) interacts with ARSENIC
Some forms of arsenic might affect electrical currents in the heart. This can increase the risk of having an irregular heartbeat. Some medications can have this same effect. Taking arsenic with these medications might increase the risk for a serious heart issue.
Do not take this combination
As medicine, there isn't enough reliable information to know what an appropriate dose of non-prescription arsenic might be. It's sometimes used in homeopathy preparations. In these products, its often referred to as arsenicum album. Homeopathic preparations are often so dilute that they contain little or no arsenic.
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CONDITIONS OF USE AND IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.
This copyrighted material is provided by Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Consumer Version. Information from this source is evidence-based and objective, and without commercial influence. For professional medical information on natural medicines, see Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Professional Version.
© Therapeutic Research Faculty 2020.