Iron status and oxidative stress biomarkers in adults: a preliminary study

Nutrition. 2009 Apr;25(4):379-84. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2008.09.012. Epub 2008 Dec 4.


Objective: Although essential to many vital processes, iron catalyzes reactions that produce reactive oxygen species, which are associated with the increased risk of non-communicable chronic diseases and precocious aging. This study investigated whether ferritin, hemoglobin concentration, and dietary iron consumption are related to oxidative stress biomarkers in adults.

Methods: Data were collected from 134 allegedly healthy subjects >18 y of age who were randomly selected to participate in a cross-sectional study as part of the pilot project Prevalence of Risk Factors for Non-communicable Chronic Diseases in the Federal District, Brazil (VIVA Saúde-DF). Serum ferritin, malondialdehyde (MDA) and protein carbonyl concentrations, hemoglobin, and dietary iron consumption were analyzed.

Results: A weak positive correlation (r = 0.189, P = 0.032) and association (P = 0.046) was observed for serum ferritin and MDA. Hemoglobin concentrations were positively associated with serum MDA (P = 0.040). Dietary iron intake and serum protein carbonyl concentrations showed a weak positive correlation (r = 0.173, P = 0.046) for all subjects. Iron intake by women was positively associated with serum protein carbonyl (P = 0.03). A lower serum MDA concentration was found in ferritin-deficient subjects (P = 0.015) and men with anemia (P = 0.011).

Conclusion: These results suggest that low levels of iron may reduce oxidative stress.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Female
  • Ferritins / blood*
  • Hemoglobins / analysis*
  • Humans
  • Iron / metabolism*
  • Iron, Dietary*
  • Male
  • Malondialdehyde / blood
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Assessment
  • Oxidative Stress*
  • Protein Carbonylation
  • Young Adult


  • Biomarkers
  • Hemoglobins
  • Iron, Dietary
  • Malondialdehyde
  • Ferritins
  • Iron