Well, that’s the short answer anyway. Today I received an email from a reader which claimed (in broken English – not the reader’s) that eating shrimp or prawns while taking a vitamin C supplement can cause the shrimp to react in your stomach and emit enough arsenic to kill you dead.
Here is the email:
A woman suddenly died unexpectedly with signs of bleeding from her ears, nose, mouth & eyes. After a preliminary autopsy it was diagnosed that death was due to arsenic poisoning. Where did the arsenic come from?
The police launched an in-depth and extensive investigation. A medical school professor was invited to come to solve the case. The professor carefully looked at the contents from the< h (sic). In less than half an hour, the mystery was solved.
The professor said: ‘The deceased did not commit suicide and neither was she murdered, she died of accidental death due to ignorance!’
Everyone was puzzled, why accidental death?
The professor said: ‘The arsenic was produced in the stomach of the deceased.’ The deceased used to take ‘Vitamin C’ everyday, which in itself is not a problem.
The problem was that she ate a large portion of shrimp/prawn during dinner. Eating shrimp/prawn is not the problem that’s why nothing happened to her family even though they had the same shrimp/prawn. However at the same time the deceased also took ‘vitamin C’, that is where the problem was!
Researchers at the University of Chicago in the United States , found through experiments, food such as soft-shell contain much higher concentration of five
potassium arsenic compounds.
Such fresh food by itself has no toxic effects on the human body.
However, in taking ‘vitamin C’, chemical reaction occurs and the original non-toxic elements change to toxic elements.
Arsenic poisoning has magma role and can cause paralysis to the small blood vessels. Therefore, a person who dies of arsenic poisoning will show signs of bleeding from the ears,
nose, mouth & eyes. Thus as a precautionary measure,
DO NOT eat shrimp/prawn when taking ‘vitamin C’.
After reading this; please do not be stingy. Forward to your friends
All of the classic elements of a hoax email are wrapped up with a lovely red bow here.
- Threat of sudden, terrible death
- Lack of specific details about who the woman is, where this happened, and when this happened.
- Something seemingly innocuous that will cause the terrible death.
Right off the bat I am deeply skeptical about the purported effects of arsenic, that it
has magma role and can cause paralysis to the small blood vessels.
This is absolute bullshit.
Symptoms of arsenic poisoning include headaches, confusion, diarrhoea and drowsiness. And you can be exposed to a lot of arsenic for a long time before you start to notice the overt signs of the poison in your system: convulsions (hard to miss), white lines across your fingernails, horrible blisters, hair loss… it’s not pleasant.
While arsenic is the preferred tool of the evil housewife who likes to watch her husband suffer a slow and painful death, it can also kill you quickly. An acute dose of arsenic will cause massive nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, kidney failure, coma and, eventually, death.
This does not match the “paralysed blood vessels” story.
Furthermore, shrimp does not turn into arsenic when it encounters vitamin C. It just doesn’t happen. Shrimp may contain low levels of arsenic, as it is a basic element and occurs naturally in the environment, but it is not a dangerous dose and your body can deal with it. Unless you eat shrimp until you sprout those weird antennae, then you might be in trouble.
I can find no research which indicates that shrimp and vitamin C can have a magical party in your tummy and turn into arsenic. Nor can I find any news relating to such a death.
Finally, and I think this is worth pointing out, if you have an allergy to shellfish, they could kill you. and if you take an extremely high dose of vitamin C it can also be very dangerous. But this is NOT the same thing. (Incidentally, there is no evidence that vitamin C taken for colds and flu has any positive effect, so you can stop wasting your money on it).
This is a hoax. Do not forward it on to your friends and family. Just press delete.