Aim: Few studies have investigated the relationship between iron stores and measures of atherosclerosis. Most of these studies were cross-sectional and yielded conflicting results. We aimed to assess the relationship between serum ferritin concentrations and dietary iron intake measured at baseline and 7.5 year pulse wave velocity (PWV), intima-media thickness (IMT) and plaques in a group of 824 men and women without known CVD, cancer or hemochromatosis.
Methods: The SUVIMAX study is a randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled primary prevention trial designed to test the effect of antioxidant supplementation in reducing ischemic cardiovascular diseases and cancer.
Results: In multivariate analyses, no association was found between baseline serum ferritin levels and IMT 7 years later (beta (95% CI)=0.003 (-0.005;0.011) in men; -0.005 (-0.013;0.004) and -0.001 (-0.011;0.009) in women, before and after menopause, respectively), plaques (OR (95% CI)=1.09 (0.88;1.34) in men; 0.93 (0.66;1.31) and 0.95 (0.70;1.29) in women, before and after menopause, respectively) or PWV (beta (95% CI)=0.078 (-0.154;0.310) in men; -0.018 (-0266;0.231) in women before and after menopause). Results for dietary iron intake were similar.
Conclusion: Our results do not support the hypothesis that dietary iron intake and body iron stores are deleterious to the structure and function of large arteries in subjects free of CVD, cancer or hemochromatosis.