Cobalt is a metallic mineral that some nutritionists think is an ultratrace mineral – that is, it is required in very small quantities in our bodies. Cobalt makes up the structure of vitamin B12, a very important vitamin for a wide range of functions in our body. It is also thought that cobalt helps make an enzyme that might provide some kind of protection against certain tumor cells. However, cobalt at high doses is toxic.
There have been recent problems with artificial joints causing cobalt poisoning. The metal on metal ball sockets rub together and small particles of the metal enter the blood stream.
One type of implant in particular that caused problems was the DePuy implants, where patients had recorded levels of cobalt “100 to 500 times normal”. These patients experienced a range of symptoms including:
- visual changes
- dyspnea on exertion
- mood disorders
- heart failure
- peripheral neuropathy
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