Nitrates and Nitrites

Nitrates and nitrites

Both Nitrates and Nitrites  are naturally occurring ionic compounds that present in nitrogen cycle. In nature plants utilize nitrate as a nutrient and nitrite combines with oxygen to make nitrate. Human made nitrate and nitrite contribute to nitrate aerosols. Both are present in surface waters, public drinking water and ground water.

Majority of contamination from agricultural runoffs as these to chemicals are present in fertilizers. Vegetables, fruits, cured meats, fishes, beers, cereals and cereal products, dairy products are source of these two compounds.

Some baby foods also contain nitrate including banana, carrots, spinach, green bean and beets. If an infant consume both food and drinking water -both with high nitrate amount – can only harm infant’s health.

European countries have banned  N-nitrosamines and N-nitroso compounds  used to be present in baby bottle nipples .

Too much intake nitrates/nitrites through food, can cause imbalance and can cause adverse health effects. Studies and reports show a decrease in BP both in adults and children due to high consumption of these two compounds.

Higher levels of nitrite decreases BP, increases heat rate, reduces ability to carry oxygen, increases headache, cramps, vomiting and can be fatal too. In children developmental issues can be possible. Blue baby syndrome/ Methemoglobinemia is a condition that is caused by lack of oxygen in infants caused by nitrate (even less than 10 ppm). Many research studies suggest that high nitrate level in drinking water may increase risks of cancer.

Gastric ulcers, pernicious anemia, adrenal insufficiency, gastric carcinoma – all these conditions can be developed by adults with elevated amount of nitrate.

Consider eating less of those foods that might contain high amount of these two compounds. Ask your drinking water supply about the percent level of nitrite and nitrate in water. USDA , agriculture department of US has established a zero tolerance for adding nitrate in food destined for infants and children.


Published by: Sumana Rao | Posted on: August 6, 2018

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