Cadmium strongly displaces zinc from its proper sites in the body. It replaces zinc in the arteries causing stiffness, inflammation and high blood pressure. High cadmium and low zinc in the arteries can promote aneurysms. It is stored in the body in place of zinc.
Many symptoms of cadmium poisoning are the same as those of zinc deficiency such as decreased appetite, dry scaly skin, loss of hair, loss of body weight, decreased body temperature, decreased growth, immune suppression, reduced testosterone activity and impotence, prostate cancer, loss of sense of smell, and copper toxicity.
The toxic effects of cadmium are kept under control in the body and brain by the presence of zinc, its primary antagonist. Zinc is very protective against cadmium absorption in the intestines. The increasing prevalence of zinc deficiency increases toxic metal retention and the toxic effects. Refining flour and sugar removes most of the zinc, chromium and selenium. Refined grains including rice and frozen vegetables, promote zinc deficiency due to the low levels in the food.