Cardiotoxicity of Foodstuffs
Few classical cardiotoxins that cause direct damage to the cardiac muscle cells are found naturally in or accidentally contaminating common foodstuffs. Effects on the heart are rather primarily through secondary mechanisms affecting vasculature, respiration, ion balance, or the central nervous system. Compounds working by these mechanisms then exert their action on the heart at the organ level by altering the blood supply or the heart workload, leading to coronary heart disease. Other toxins can affect damage as a result of hypersensitivity. The result of chronic effects on the heart - atherosclerosis, angina pectoris, and the potentially resulting myocardial infarction - are linked to elevated cholesterol in the diet and to cholesterol metabolically formed in the liver.