Ochratoxin And Kidney Problems


(Chen and Wu 2017)

Ochartoxins are mycotoxins produced by a number of common Aspergillus and Penicillium molds. Ochratoxins frequently contaminate common foodstuffs including oats, wheat, corn, barley, raisins, pistachios, wine, beer, coffee and coca. Ochratoxins can also be present in the air and dust of contaminated agricultural and indoor environments. Many countries have limits for ochratoxin in foodstuffs, but not the United States or Canada.



Ochratroxins has been proven to cause kidney cancer in multiple animal species and is a suspected human carcinogen. Several human studies have reported higher urine levels of ochratoxin to be significantly associated with a greater risk of end stage kidney disease or nephrotic syndrome. Animal studies have also reported that ochratoxins can damage kidneys, are immunoxotoxic, and can cause birth defects.

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Human diet studies have estimated that while most human populations consume relatively low 
concentrations of ochratoxins, ochratoxin consumption can be high in some people- such as young children who consume large amounts of oatmeal or in people who consume grain, coffee, or pistachios contaminated with Fusarium molds. Proper harvest, storage and monitoring of food products is critical in reducing human and animal exposure to ochratoxins and other mycotoxins.

Between 1990 and 2013 the incidence of chronic kidney disease increased 20% to 100% in most nations of the world. Much of this increase is believed to due to major increases in the incidence of type 2 diabetes and obesity seen in most nations in the past several decades. More research is needed to determine if ochratoxin exposure from foods and indoor environments is playing a role in the recent worldwide large increases in chronic kidney failure. 


References / Sources

Chen, C. and F. Wu (2017). “The need to revisit ochratoxin a risk in light of diabetes, obesity, and chronic kidney disease prevalence.” Food Chem Toxicol.



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