Monday, April 28, 2008


Recently, it was reported in the press, that starfruits kill. It was reported that some people who had consumed the fruit has suffered coma, fits and even death. With this news publicised, many have asked me if starfruit can kill? We must know that starfruit is a fairly popular fruit in Malaysia, and in fact in the world. Many of us, and indeed myself included have consumed the fruit when we were younger, and yet we suffer no harm. Obviously, starfruit is not poisonous. It is true that starfruit contains some oxalic acid and also some small doses of some substance which can behave like neurotoxin ( still not identified ). Like all chemicals entering our bodies, these small amounts of trace substances is usually detoxified and excreted by the healthy bodies and therefore cause us no harm. However, in susceptible host, like patients with renal faulure, borderline renal failure, liver failure and borderline liver failure, such small amounts of potentially toxic chemicals may accumulate and cause harm. The sicker the host, the weaker the detox organs in our body, the higher the dose of toxic chemicals, accumulating in the body. Therefore, what appears to be very harmful, to one body, may be completely innocent to the next body, depending on how healthy that body is. It is also important to say that, the newspaper accounts of what happened in China, was not detailed enough for us to know whether the toxins came from the starfruit itself, or from the insecticides or other chemicals which may have been sprayed on the fruits. As we all well know, some farmers routinely spray chemicals on their fruits to protect them from insects and other pest, to help the fruit to ripen quicker, or even to make the fruit more appealing, juicy and sweeter. So if one were to eat the fruit without washing it well, some of the external toxic chemicals may still be on the fruit and consumed at the same time. Whatever the real reason ( and that is not clear at the moment ) it was good that this news in the press has cause us to be more aware of the potential toxicity in some of the things that we ingest knowingly or unknowingly. We should be much more careful. In the issue of starfruit, I think that it would be wise for patients with renal failure, not to take it, but take some other fruits, as an alternative.

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