This study provides the dietary intakes of six trace elements (cadmium, chromium, copper, manganese, selenium and zinc), generally characterized by both nutritional and toxicological features depending on their exposure. Being diet the most relevant source of exposure to trace elements in non-professionally exposed subjects, we measured content of these trace elements in foods composing the typical Italian diet using inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry, and assessing dietary habits using a validated semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire we eventually estimated dietary daily intake of trace elements in a Northern Italian community. In the 890 analyzed food samples, the main contributors to cadmium intake are cereals, vegetables and sweets, while cereals, beverages and vegetable are to primary source of manganese. The primary contributors for copper are cereals, fresh fruits and vegetables, while for chromium are beverages, cereals and meat. The main source of selenium intake are cereals and meat, followed by fish, seafood and milk and dairy products, while of zinc intake are meat, cereals, milk and dairy products. In our Italian population sample, the estimated median (interquartile range) dietary daily intakes are 5.00 (3.17-7.65), 56.70 (36.08-86.70) and 66.53 (40.04-101.32) μg/day for cadmium, chromium and selenium, and corresponding figures are 0.98 (0.61-1.49), 2.34 (1.46-3.52) and 8.50 (5.21-12.48) mg/day for copper, manganese and zinc. The estimated intakes are generally within the average intake reported in other European populations, and in such cases well above the daily dietary intakes recommended by national international agencies, avoiding the risk of excess or deficiency. The present estimated intake data can be used to examine a specific trace element of interest and would afford enhanced health protection from those trace elements characterized by both nutritional and toxicological effects.
Keywords: Cadmium; Chromium; Copper; Dietary intake; Food analysis; Manganese; Nutritional epidemiology; Selenium; Trace elements; Zinc.
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