Skip to main content

Abstract

Heavy metals are highly toxic elements that contaminate the global food supply and affect human and wildlife health. Purification technologies are often too expensive or not practically applicable for large-scale implementation, especially in impoverished nations where heavy metal contamination is widespread. Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1 (LGR-1) was shown in previous work to reduce heavy metal bioaccumulation in a Tanzanian cohort of women and children through indeterminant mechanisms. Here, it was hypothesized that LGR-1 could sequester the heavy metals lead (Pb) and cadmium (Cd), thereby reducing their absorption across intestinal epithelium. LGR-1 and other lactobacilli significantly reduced the amount of Pb and Cd in solution at all concentrations tested (0.5 mg/L - 50 mg/L) and exhibited sustained binding profiles over a 48-hour period. Relative binding efficiency of LGR-1 decreased as Pb concentration increased, with an absolute minimum binding threshold apparent at concentrations of 2 mg/L and above. Electron microscopy revealed that Pb formed irregular cell-surface clusters on LGR-1, while Cd appeared to form intracellular polymeric clusters. Additionally, LGR-1 was able to significantly reduce apical-to-basolateral translocation of Pb and Cd in a Caco-2 model of the intestinal epithelium. These findings demonstrate the absorbent properties of LGR-1 can immobilize Pb and Cd, effectively reducing their translocation across the intestinal epithelium in vitro. Oral administration of heavy metal-binding Lactobacillus spp. (many of which are known human symbionts and strains of established probiotics) may offer a simple and effective means to reduce the amount of heavy metals absorbed from foods in contaminated regions of the world.

Keywords: Probiotics; cadmium; detoxification; dietary toxins; environmental contaminants; heavy metals; lactobacilli; lead; sequestration; xenobiotics.

Research Insights

SupplementHealth OutcomeEffect TypeEffect Size
Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1Improved Heavy Metal SequestrationBeneficial
Large
Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1Reduced Heavy Metal AccumulationBeneficial
Large

Pillser helps you make informed health decisions by providing comprehensive, unbiased information about supplements. This includes detailed research on supplement ingredients, their benefits, potential risks, and their overall efficacy. You can contribute by sharing your feedback and suggestions.

Send us an email at support@pillser.com.