Circulating levels of environmental contaminants are associated with dietary patterns in older adults

Environ Int. 2015 Feb;75:93-102. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2014.11.008. Epub 2014 Nov 19.

Abstract

Background: Food intake contributes substantially to our exposure to environmental contaminants. Still, little is known about our dietary habits' contribution to exposure variability.

Objective: The aim of this study was to assess circulating levels of environmental contaminants in relation to predefined dietary patterns in an elderly Swedish population.

Methods: Dietary data and serum concentrations of environmental contaminants were obtained from 844 70-year-old Swedish subjects (50% women) in the Prospective Investigation of the Vasculature in Uppsala Seniors (PIVUS) study. Dietary data from 7-day food records was used to assess adherence to a Mediterranean-like diet, a low carbohydrate-high protein diet and the WHO dietary recommendations. Circulating levels of 6 polychlorinated biphenyl markers, 3 organochlorine pesticides, 1 dioxin and 1 polybrominated diphenyl ether, the metals cadmium, lead, mercury and aluminum and serum levels of bisphenol A and 4 phthalate metabolites were investigated in relation to dietary patterns in multivariate linear regression models.

Results: A Mediterranean-like diet was positively associated with levels of several polychlorinated biphenyls (118, 126, 153, and 209), trans-nonachlor and mercury. A low carbohydrate-high protein diet was positively associated with polychlorinated biphenyls 118 and 153, trans-nonachlor, hexachlorobenzene and p, p'-dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene, mercury and lead. The WHO recommended diet was negatively related to levels of dioxin and lead, and borderline positively to polychlorinated biphenyl 118 and trans-nonachlor.

Conclusion: Dietary patterns were associated in diverse manners with circulating levels of environmental contaminants in this elderly Swedish population. Following the WHO dietary recommendations seems to be associated with a lower burden of environmental contaminants.

Keywords: Dietary patterns; Dietary recommendations; Environmental contaminants; Low carbohydrate diet; Mediterranean diet.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Environmental Exposure / analysis
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Environmental Pollutants / blood*
  • Female
  • Food Contamination*
  • Humans
  • Mercury / blood
  • Middle Aged
  • Pesticides / blood*

Substances

  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Pesticides
  • Mercury