Arsenic: Benefits, Dosage, Side Effects, Drug Interactions, And Other Important Information


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Due to its contentious past and possible medical uses, arsenic, a metalloid element with the chemical symbol As, has drawn much attention. Despite being well-acknowledged as a toxin, arsenic has been utilized for many years in traditional medicine to treat a wide range of illnesses. This article will examine the properties of arsenic, consider its potential health advantages, go over the ideal dosage, explain possible adverse effects and drug interactions, and give a general overview of the most ethical ways to take this nutritional supplement.

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Arsenic: Benefits, Dosage, Side Effects, Drug Interactions, And Other Important Information is an original (NootropicsPlanet) article.

Nature of Arsenic

Many minerals, including arsenopyrite (FeAsS), realgar (As4S4), and orpiment (As2S3), naturally contain trace levels of arsenic. Arsenite (As+3) and arsenate (As+5) are the two oxidation states in which the element can be found. Since arsenite has a stronger affinity for biological molecules like proteins and enzymes, it is considered more hazardous than arsenate. Arsenic that has been ingested is transferred to numerous tissues, such as the liver, kidneys, lungs, and skin, after being absorbed through the digestive system. The liver transforms arsenic into less poisonous molecules that are subsequently eliminated through the urine by the kidneys.

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Health Benefits of Arsenic

Arsenic has been proven to provide possible health benefits when taken in the right amounts despite being hazardous. Arsenic was first employed therapeutically in ancient Greek, Roman, and Chinese medicine to treat diseases like malaria, cancer, and syphilis. Recent studies have concentrated on arsenic’s anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer effects.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized the use of arsenic trioxide (As2O3) for the treatment of acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL), a subtype of acute myeloid leukemia (AML). The mechanism of action entails both the suppression of cellular proliferation and the activation of differentiation and death in cancer cells. The promyelocytic leukemia-retinoic acid receptor-alpha (PML-RAR) fusion protein has been demonstrated to be a target of arsenic trioxide.

Malaria causing mosquito.

Chemistry of Arsenic

There are several different types of arsenic, including organic arsenic compounds, inorganic arsenic, and elemental arsenic. Yellow, black, and gray are the three allotropes of elemental arsenic. Arsenite (As(III)) and arsenate (As(V)) are two inorganic arsenic compounds that are frequently found in water and soil. Arsenic reacts with carbon to generate organic arsenic compounds like arsenobetaine and arsenocholine, which are present in some shellfish.

Arsenic and its derivatives are highly hazardous because they can interfere with the body’s regular enzyme and protein functions. Arsenic, in particular, can attach to sulfhydryl groups (-SH) in proteins, preventing them from performing as intended. Numerous health issues, such as skin blemishes, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer, might result from this.

In conclusion, arsenic is a very poisonous substance that can interfere with the body’s regular physiological processes. Its capacity to attach to enzymes and proteins, change their structure and function, and obstruct cellular functions is what causes its harmful consequences. Arsenic and its components should only be exposed to a minimum to avoid significant health concerns.

Physiological Mechanisms of Action

Arsenic can enter the human body orally, by inhalation, or topically. Once ingested, arsenic can prevent a number of physiological functions from operating normally. The molecule ATP, which supplies energy for biological functions, can be disrupted by arsenic. Additionally, arsenic can attach to proteins and enzymes, changing their structure and activity in the process, harming cells and tissues. Arsenic, in particular, can impair the liver, kidneys, cardiovascular, and immunological system.

Arsenic can also disrupt DNA repair and cell division, which can result in genetic abnormalities and an elevated risk of cancer. Additionally, arsenic can disturb the production of several hormones, including thyroid hormone, which can result in a variety of health problems.

Lady having pain in liver.

Optimal Dosage of Arsenic

Due to the small therapeutic window between arsenic’s helpful and harmful effects, figuring out the ideal dosage for nutritional supplements is challenging. The dosage must be customized for the patient and the ailment being treated. Arsenic trioxide is commonly given intravenously to treat APL at a dose of 0.15 mg/kg/day. The dosage of drugs containing arsenic may change for other conditions. Before taking arsenic as a dietary supplement, it is crucial to speak with a healthcare provider to ensure that the correct amount is being taken.

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Side Effects of Arsenic

Depending on the quantity and length of exposure, arsenic poisoning can present itself in a variety of ways. Gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain can result from acute arsenic poisoning. Chronic exposure to arsenic can cause peripheral neuropathy, hyperkeratosis, and darkening of the skin, as well as an increased chance of developing various cancers such as bladder, skin, and lung cancer.

Potential Substance Interactions with Arsenic

Arsenic can interact with other substances, possibly causing adverse effects or changing the molecules’ efficacy. Arsenic and several prominent substances interact in the following ways:

  1. Selenium: A vital trace element, selenium is critical to the body’s antioxidant defense mechanism. It has been demonstrated that by building complexes with arsenic, which lowers its bioavailability and promotes its elimination, it has a protective effect against arsenic toxicity. A balanced intake of both elements is crucial because an excess of selenium may have harmful effects of its own.
  2. Vitamin C: By chelating the metalloid and aiding in its elimination from the body, vitamin C, a potent antioxidant, has been shown to lessen the harmful effects of arsenic. However, care must be taken when combining arsenic with large dosages of vitamin C, as too much of the latter might result in kidney stones and gastrointestinal problems.
  3. Iron: When iron levels are insufficient, the body absorbs more arsenic, making iron deficiency associated with a higher risk of arsenic toxicity. In order to reduce the danger of arsenic poisoning, adequate iron intake is crucial. However, taking too much iron can result in iron overload, which can negatively affect one’s health.
  4. Medications: Arsenic may interact with some drugs, reducing their effectiveness or raising the possibility of adverse side effects. Arsenic, for instance, may interact with anti-hypertensive medications, changing how blood pressure is controlled. Before utilizing arsenic as a nutritional supplement, it is recommended to consult with a healthcare provider to assess any drug interactions.
Selenium food items.

Best Responsible Uses of Arsenic

  1. Speak with a doctor: Before using arsenic as a dietary supplement, speak with a doctor to assess its compatibility with your particular illness and establish the proper dosage.
  2. Pick a trustworthy source: Ensure the arsenic-containing product is purchased from a trustworthy supplier and meets all requirements for quality and safety.
  3. Watch for adverse effects: While taking arsenic as a nutritional supplement, keep an eye on your health and notify your doctor immediately if any adverse effects arise.
  4. Comply with dosage advice: Follow the recommended dosage schedule and refrain from modifying it independently without consulting a medical expert.
  5. Exercise caution when combining substances: Discuss potential interactions between arsenic and other dietary supplements, prescription drugs, or medical problems with a healthcare provider.



It’s important to clarify that arsenic is not typically considered beneficial for human health. Arsenic is a toxic element that can pose significant health risks when ingested in high amounts. However, arsenic occurs naturally in trace amounts and can be found in various environmental sources, including water, soil, and certain foods.

While arsenic exposure at low levels is unavoidable and generally not a significant health concern for most individuals, chronic exposure to elevated levels of arsenic can lead to serious health problems. In fact, arsenic poisoning can occur even at relatively low levels of exposure over time. If you have concerns about specific health conditions or nutritional needs, it’s essential to consult with a qualified healthcare professional or registered dietitian who can provide personalized recommendations for safe and effective dietary supplements or interventions.



  1. “Arsenic and Arsenic Compounds.” National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 13 Oct. 2021,
  2. “Arsenic.” Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, 2 Sept. 2021,

Important Note: The information contained in this article is for general informational purposes only, and should not be construed as health or medical advice, nor is it intended to diagnose, prevent, treat, or cure any disease or health condition. Before embarking on any diet, fitness regimen, or program of nutritional supplementation, it is advisable to consult your healthcare professional in order to determine its safety and probable efficacy in terms of your individual state of health.

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Regarding Nutritional Supplements Or Other Non-Prescription Health Products: If any nutritional supplements or other non-prescription health products are mentioned in the foregoing article, any claims or statements made about them have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and such nutritional supplements or other health products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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