Toxins on Oats

A few months ago, I wrote an article discussing why climate change should change our grain consumption. One of my arguments was that we are going to see increased levels of mycotoxins on grains.

A client recently sent me a study that analyzed grains and found that 70% of oat-based cereals purchased in the U.S. were contaminated with the fungal toxin ochratoxin A. Ochratoxin A is a potential human carcinogen and may cause neurotoxic damage, immunosuppressive effects, and reproductive harm. Wheat (32%) was the second highest in contamination with corn and rice having 15% each.

The toxin concentrates on the bran of grains. This means that the best options are not whole wheat or brown rice, as we have all been told for years. Sourdough bread made without the bran and rice that is hulled, like white rice, will be the least contaminated options.

The highest DNA toxicity of ochratoxin A in a study was found in cells where CYP1A2 was expressed. If you have a heterozygous or homozygous CYP1A2 gene on your Nutrition Genome Report, it is even more important to consider reducing or avoiding oats. If you love oats, pressure companies to test their product and guarantee purity levels.

How to Protect Against Ochratoxin A

Since we are all going to ingest a certain level of ochratoxin A when dietary options are limited, there are nutrition strategies to detox. Vitamin A, C and E were all found to reduce the toxicity of ochratoxin A. This would include whole organic pastured eggs, vitamin C supplementation, nuts and seeds. Why pastured eggs? A study from Penn State found that pastured eggs had twice as much vitamin E and a 38% higher concentration of vitamin A.

During a certain period of time in Europe, fermented drinks were safer to drink than the water. Fermentation may be the most effective way to reduce mycotoxins. Research has shown that saccharomyces (brewers yeast) can remove and transform mycotoxins in 4 days.