Blood pressure and levels of Fe, Ca, Mg, Zn, Cu, Na and K in the hair of young Bantu men from Tanzania

Biol Trace Elem Res. 2013 Mar;151(3):350-9. doi: 10.1007/s12011-012-9578-3. Epub 2013 Jan 3.


Mineral imbalance in the body may significantly contribute to the development and course of hypertension. In this paper, blood pressure figures have been linked to the levels of Fe, Ca, Mg, Zn, Cu, Na and K in hair. The research sample was composed of young men (n = 91) aged 13-21, from the town of Mafinga, Iringa District, Tanzania. The data collected included their age, tribal background and weekly diet. Based on body mass index, the participants were categorised into pre-defined subgroups. To examine how the minerals in question affect blood pressure, correlation analysis and multiple ridge regression analysis were performed. Analysis of ridge regression findings for the researched group (n = 91) shows that the minerals under scrutiny account for systolic blood pressure variation in 13 % and in 15 % for diastolic blood pressure variation. After including two additional variables-calendar age and body mass index-in regression analysis, the ultimate coefficient of determination (R (2)) changes for systolic blood pressure and remains the same for diastolic blood pressure (R (2) = 0.194 and R (2) = 0.156, respectively). Nutritional analysis shows that the students included in the study received insufficient calories per day (1,500-2,200 kcal). The group of students with abnormal blood pressure were not aware of their poor health. Research findings may result from progressive environmental changes and poor nutrition in terms of food quantity and quality, which had an impact on the subjects' blood pressure. Hair analysis used to determine mineral content in the body may be an auxiliary tool in identifying the links between factors leading to the development of hypertension.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Blood Pressure*
  • Calcium / analysis
  • Copper / analysis
  • Hair / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Iron / analysis
  • Magnesium / analysis
  • Male
  • Potassium / analysis
  • Sodium / analysis
  • Tanzania
  • Young Adult
  • Zinc / analysis


  • Copper
  • Sodium
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Zinc
  • Potassium
  • Calcium