Patterns and Associations of Essential Trace Elements (Cu, Fe and Zn) in Saudi Adults with Varying Levels of Glycemia

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The homeostasis of trace elements were observed to contribute to certain diabetic outcomes. This cross-sectional study determined the differences and associations between serum levels of copper (Cu), iron (Fe) and zinc (Zn) in Saudi patients with and without type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) as well as those with prediabetes. Anthropometrics were measured, and fasting blood samples were collected from 119 patients with T2DM (aged 41-64 years), 95 non-T2DM (aged 27-55 years) and 80 with prediabetes (aged 35-57 years). Circulating trace minerals were determined using an inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometer. Serum levels of Cu and Fe were significantly lower in T2DM than non-T2DM (adjusted p-values < 0.001). There was no difference in the Zn levels of the T2DM and non-T2DM groups. The serum Cu levels were significantly lower in the prediabetes group than the non-T2DM group (p < 0.05). The serum levels of Cu, Fe and Zn were inversely associated with circulating glucose in the T2DM and prediabetes subjects (p-values < 0.001). In conclusion, the differences in circulating trace elements were observed in Saudi subjects with varying glycemic statuses, suggesting an inverse association between T2DM progression and the decreasing serum Cu, Fe and Zn levels. Intervention trials are warranted to determine whether early correction of trace mineral deficiencies is beneficial in populations at higher risk for T2DM.

Keywords: Arabs; prediabetes; trace minerals; type 2 diabetes.