Dietary Intakes of Zinc and Heme Iron from Red Meat, but Not from Other Sources, Are Associated with Greater Risk of Metabolic Syndrome and Cardiovascular Disease1-3

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Metabolic syndrome (MetS), Type 2 diabetes (T2D), and cardiovascular disease (CVD) share an inflammatory etiology and are known to be influenced by diet. We investigated associations of hypothesized prooxidative (Fe) and antioxidative (Zn, Mg, β-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E) micronutrients with incident MetS, T2D, and CVD in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis. Participants, 45-84 y at baseline (2000-2002), were followed through 2010. Diet was assessed by FFQ. After adjusting for demographics and behavioral confounders, including BMI, dietary vitamin E intake was inversely associated with incident MetS and CVD [HR for extreme quintiles: MetS = 0.78 (95% CI = 0.62, 0.97), P-trend = 0.01; CVD: HR = 0.69 (95% CI = 0.46, 1.03), P-trend = 0.04]. Intakes of heme iron and Zn from red meat, but not from other sources, were positively associated with risk of MetS [heme iron from red meat: HR = 1.25 (95% CI = 0.99,1.56), P-trend = 0.03; Zn from red meat: HR = 1.29(95% CI = 1.03,1.61), P-trend = 0.04] and CVD [heme iron from red meat: HR = 1.65 (95% CI = 1.10,2.47), P-trend = 0.01; Zn from red meat: HR = 1.51 (95%CI = 1.02, 2.24), P-trend = 0.01]. Dietary intakes of nonheme iron, Mg, vitamin C, and β-carotene were not associated with risk of MetS, T2D, or CVD. Data provided little support for the associations between specific micronutrients and MetS, T2D, or CVD. However, nutrients consumed in red meat, or red meat as a whole, may increase risk of MetS and CVD.

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