Association of Blood Cadmium Level with Metabolic Syndrome After Adjustment for Confounding by Serum Ferritin and Other Factors: 2008-2012 Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey

Biol Trace Elem Res. 2016 May;171(1):6-16. doi: 10.1007/s12011-015-0499-9. Epub 2015 Sep 7.


We examined the association of metabolic syndrome (MS) with blood levels of cadmium (Cd), lead (Pb), and mercury (Hg) using adjustment for confounding by serum ferritin, in a representative sample of the adult population of South Korea. This cross-sectional study enrolled subjects who were at least 20 years old, completed the health examination survey, and had blood measurements of Pb, Cd, and Hg. In males, adjusted odds ratios (ORs) indicated that a doubling of blood Cd resulted in a 26.4-31.0 % increased risk of MS, and subjects in the highest tertile of blood Cd were 35.8 % more likely to have MS than those in the lowest tertile after adjustment for blood Pb, blood Hg, and serum ferritin. Serum ferritin was also associated with MS. No significant results were observed in females. There were no significant associations of MS with blood Pb or blood Hg. The present study confirms our previous findings, which had a smaller sample size and a shorter study period.

Keywords: Cadmium; Lead; Mercury; Metabolic syndrome.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cadmium / blood*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Ferritins / blood*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / blood*
  • Metabolic Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Surveys*
  • Republic of Korea / epidemiology
  • Young Adult


  • Cadmium
  • Ferritins