Comprehensive study of the effects of age, iron deficiency, diabetes mellitus, and cadmium burden on dietary cadmium absorption in cadmium-exposed female Japanese farmers

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The absorption rate of dietary cadmium (Cd) was investigated among 38 female farmers who had been exposed to Cd at levels close to the current provisional tolerable weekly intake (PTWI); these levels were much higher than those examined in previous studies. The study group composed of 7 diabetics and their 13 age-matched controls and 6 anemic subjects and their 12 controls. With their informed consent, the study participants were confined in an inn for 7 nights and 8 days to collect all feces and urine and duplicates of all food consumed. The dietary Cd absorption rate was calculated for each subject from her total Cd intake and fecal excretion. The means and 95% confidence intervals (CI) of the diabetic group and the anemic group did not differ significantly from those of their respective controls. By individual analysis using all 38 subjects, however, significant Pearson's correlation coefficients were observed between Cd absorption rate and age, serum ferritin, serum iron, and blood and urine Cd levels. Among these, multiple regression analysis revealed that only age was a significant factor contributing to Cd absorption rate. The actual Cd absorption rate in the youngest age group (20–39 years) was 44.0%, which was highly accelerated compared with the rate in the total subject group of 6.5%, while zero to negative balance was observed in the older subjects. These results demonstrate that age, rather than iron deficiency, diabetes mellitus (DM), or Cd burden, is the only independent factor affecting the Cd absorption rate, suggesting that young women are always at high risk.

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