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Managing the Toxic Effects of Acetaldehyde
July 8th, 2014 by Dennis McInerney

Acetaldehyde is a common and potent neurotoxin. Acetaldehyde is ubiquitous in the ambient environment. It is formed as a product of incomplete wood combustion in fireplaces and woodstoves, coffee roasting, burning of tobacco, vehicle exhaust fumes, and coal refining. Many individuals are exposed to acetaldehyde by simply breathing ambient air. Other environmental sources of acetaldehyde include room air deodorizers, cologne’s and perfumes1. Inhalation of air containing elevated levels of acetaldehyde can cause respiratory tract irritation, central nervous system depression and possibly pulmonary edema. Very high concentrations can cause dizziness, respiratory depression, convulsions or even death2.

Acetaldehyde is also found as a hidden ingredient in common foods. It is an important component of food flavorings and is added to milk products, baked goods, fruit juices, candy, desserts, and soft drinks. Another source of exposure for the general population is through consumption of alcoholic beverages and the subsequent metabolism of alcohol to form acetaldehyde3.

Intestinal Candida albicans can be another source of acetaldehyde. Candida albicans lives by fermenting sugars to produce energy. The waste by-product of this energy production is acetaldehyde. Individuals with excessive overgrowth of Candida albicans develop symptoms similar to acetaldehyde exposure, such as poor memory, lethargy, depression, irritability, and headaches4.

Acetaldehyde is removed from the body via the liver. The metabolic pathway that removes acetaldehyde, by converting it to acetic acid, is dependent upon molybdenum and iron as catalysts, and is carried out in the presence of niacinamide (NAD) and riboflavin (FAD). Molybdenum and iron are rate limiting catalysts in this reaction. Most individuals have adequate iron stores. A molybdenum deficiency, on the other hand, is often the reason many individuals suffer symptoms from even low level acetaldehyde exposure5.

The first step in managing the toxic effects of acetaldehyde is to be conscious of your environment. Avoid acetaldehyde air pollution whenever possible, read labels and eat whole food, and minimize alcohol consumption. If you find yourself exposed to excessive amounts of acetaldehydes whether from the ambient environment or other sources such as overconsumption of adult beverages or an outbreak of intestinal candidiasis, consider adding Mo-Zyme or Mo-Zyme Forte (source of molybdenum) and Bio-B-Complex from Biotics Research, as a daily dietary supplement. For intestinal candidiasis, consider adding A.D. P. (emulsified oil of oregano) and BioDoph-7 Plus (pre & pro biotic) from Biotics Research.

References:

  1. http://www.epa.gov/ttn/atw/hlthef/acetalde.html
  2. http://apps.sepa.org.uk/spripa/Pages/SubstanceInformation.aspx?pid=11
  3. http://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/ntp/roc/twelfth/profiles/Acetaldehyde.pdf
  4. The Yeast Connection by William G. Crook, M.D.
  5. Quintessential Applications, A(K) Clinical Protocol by Walter H. Schmitt, DC, DIBAK, DABCN and Kerry McCord, DC, DIBAK

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