Aflatoxins - poison from expired products
Buying products in the market or in the store, we hope for their proper quality. But it is not known how nuts, dried fruits, cereals, dairy and other food products were stored. Sometimes they can carry a mortal danger.
It is about fungi that affect food under the wrong conditions of detention. If in the warehouse or in the house there is increased humidity and heat, this can lead to the emergence of specific mold on some types of food. This mold distinguishes aflatoxins - very toxic substances that can cause poisoning right up to a lethal outcome.
Aflatoxins in food
Aflatoxins are one of the most dangerous groups of toxic substances released by the fungus of the genus Aspergillusflavus. If stored incorrectly, aflatoxins may be contained in the following products:
- dried fruits;
- Industrial juices (fungi multiply on packages);
- baby food products;
The most common source of aflatoxin is peanuts.
Which toxin group is aflatoxin? Aflatoxins refer to mycotoxins, that is, to poisons that produce mold fungi. The largest amount of aflatoxin occurs in yellow mold. There are 4 main types of aflatoxins - B1, B2, G1, G2. In addition, there are so-called metabolites. Their 10 - M1, M2, B2a, G2a, GM1, P1, Q1 and others. Aflatoxin B1 is found mainly in grain, coffee, tea, cocoa, nuts, dried fruits. They are the most common and have strong carcinogenic properties. And aflatoxin M1 can be found in dairy products.
Aflatoxins in tea appear due to its incorrect and long-term storage. Few people know that tea and coffee, in fact, have a shelf life. If it smells of mold, then it is better not to drink it. Especially dangerous are teas with flavors, dyes, since they can hide a moldy smell.
Aflatoxins in bread can be found if it was produced from poor raw materials.
How do aflatoxins work?
Mycotoxins can enter the human body directly when eating food containing mold or through meat, milk, eggs of animals poisoned with aflatoxins. Their main target is the human liver. The effect occurs at the cellular level. The mechanism of action of aflatoxins is to suppress protein synthesis. Poisons attack liver cells, causing their death or replacing their contents with fatty tissue. Fatty degeneration of the liver significantly reduces its functionality. If the cause of acute poisoning is aflatoxin B1, it can affect not only the liver, but also the heart, kidneys, spleen. In addition to the death of liver cells, toxins of fungi lead to liver cancer.
Aflatoxins have not only a hepatotoxic effect. They also have mutagenic, embryotoxic, immunosuppressive and teratogenic effects (harmful to the fetus).
With the use of a lethal dose of aflatoxin, human death occurs within two days due to the mass death of liver cells and the development of acute liver failure. Toxic dose of aflatoxin is considered to be 1.7 mg / kg, and lethal - 75 mg / kg.
Aflatoxins in products can be contained only in a certain amount. The minimum doses are set by SanPiN. The tolerable content of aflatoxin B1 in nuts and cereals is 0.005 mg / kg.
In milk, cheese, eggs of mold toxins should be no more than 0.0005 mg / kg.
The high toxicity of these substances causes a large number of deaths as a result of poisoning.
But even if there was no serious poisoning, with the systematic use of aflatoxin act on a person as follows:
- disturb the metabolism of vitamin D and reduce the strength of bones;
- reduce the formation of bile salts;
- slow the absorption of fats and pigment substances;
- break the exchange of minerals (iron, copper, phosphorus);
- reduce immunity;
- in children cause a delay in growth and development.
- decreased appetite;
- ataxia (uncoordinated movements);
- paresis, paralysis;
- pain in the liver;
- hemorrhages on the skin and mucous membranes.
Aflatoxin begins to act on a person already within the first 30 minutes. The following symptoms appear:
The liver ceases to perform its basic functions. Hemorrhages are caused by a violation of the formation of proteins of the coagulating and anticoagulant system. Decreases all types of exchange. Suffering and the development of immune bodies, cleansing the body of toxins.
With systematic use in low doses, there are fractures due to osteoporosis, weight loss, delayed mental and physical development in children.
Chronic aflatoxicosis threatens cirrhosis of the liver. If the nursing mother uses products contaminated with fungi of the genus Aspergillus, then aflatoxins can be transmitted with her milk to the child. Then, because of the constant low-dose effect, the baby can also develop cirrhosis of the liver. Symptoms of cirrhosis develop rapidly - within 17 days.
The long-term consequence of aflatoxicosis is carcinogenesis. If the poisoning develops against the background of hepatitis B or C, the risk of liver cancer increases many times. Children with acute poisoning with high doses of aflatoxins very quickly experience vomiting, convulsions and coma. Up to 80% of children with these symptoms die. In acute aflatoxicosis, medical attention should be sought immediately, because the condition worsens with every minute and severe irreversible damage to the liver and nervous system occurs quickly.
The total duration of the course of mild or moderate poisoning is 10-15 days.
Prevention of poisoning with aflatoxins
When buying any products, you should look at the expiration date. This applies to teas, coffee, cocoa, nuts. Pay attention to the sanitary conditions in which food is found. Aflatoxins in nuts and other snacks can be formed if they are sold on the open market. Especially in autumn and in conditions of dampness, it is worthwhile to doubt their good quality.
Pay attention to the smell and color of the product. Unpleasant odor and foreign coloring should not be. If there is still a suspicion that the product is hazardous to health, you can refer it to the examination and recover from the seller compensation.
To buy high-quality food is small - you also need to keep it right at home. For this, a dry dark room with low humidity is suitable. It is better not to store stocks, but to buy fresh nuts in smaller quantities, but often. If they still formed mold, it can not be scraped, washed with soap, fried and so on, and then use the product. Aflatoxins are found not only on the surface of the product in the place of mold formation, and they are resistant to high temperatures, soap and alcohol.
If nuts, dried fruits, cereals, we can check for ourselves, then how to deal with dairy products? In this case, in order to protect yourself, you should buy milk, cheese, cottage cheese produced by a prestigious company that does not neglect quality control. If you suspect a substandard product, you can include milk for examination. The determination of aflatoxin M1 in milk is done with a special test and takes only 10 minutes.
Baby food requires a very careful check, because it is about the health of our children.
- Thoroughly check the expiration date on jars, packages.
- Before giving the baby food try it yourself, appreciate the taste and smell.
- Packings for cereals and milk mixtures should be carefully inspected from the inside and out.
- It is necessary to strictly observe the storage conditions of each product.
- Do not store baby food in the open for longer than the manufacturer stipulated.
The carcinogenic effect of aflatoxin is reduced by the following products:
Therefore, these products should be included in the diet of adults and children.
Let's sum up. Among mycotoxins, aflatoxins are the most dangerous. They are found not only in grain, nuts, dried fruits and peanuts, but also in milk, cheese, cottage cheese, bread, meat, eggs. These toxins have a negative effect on the liver, nervous system, kidneys, spleen, heart. Cirrhosis of the liver can develop in a short time both in adults and in children. The carcinogenic effect of these substances on the liver has been proven. Primary liver cancer is especially often a consequence of poisoning with aflatoxins if there is concomitant hepatitis. Secure yourself simply - you just need to choose and store products correctly, pay attention to the expiration date, their color and smell, and also eat vegetables that reduce the carcinogenic effect of aflatoxins.