The Relationship between Dietary, Serum and Hair Levels of Minerals (Fe, Zn, Cu) and Glucose Metabolism Indices in Obese Type 2 Diabetic Patients

Biol Trace Elem Res. 2019 May;189(1):34-44. doi: 10.1007/s12011-018-1470-3. Epub 2018 Aug 8.


The aim of this study was to assess the levels of Zn, Fe and Cu in the serum and hair, and dietary intake of type 2 diabetic patients and their association with glucose and lipid indices. The study was conducted on 62 people aged 40-78 years (31 diabetic patients and 31 healthy subjects, who were the control group). The content of trace elements in the hair and serum was analysed with the AAS method. The serum insulin, HbA1c, glucose, total cholesterol and triacylglycerol concentrations were measured by means of RIA, HPLC and colorimetric methods, respectively. The diabetic patients were found to have significantly higher dietary iron intake, higher hair Fe and lower serum Zn concentrations than the non-diabetic subjects, while the hair Zn and Cu contents were comparable in both groups. The serum Zn and Cu levels of the diabetic subjects were negatively correlated with the serum glucose, the serum Zn and Cu/Zn ratio was inversely correlated with the serum total cholesterol and the serum insulin level was positively associated with the hair Cu/Zn ratio. The results of this study indicate that the trace element status (Zn, Fe, Cu), as reflected in the blood serum and hair, may be disturbed due to metabolic derangement occurring in diabetes.

Keywords: Copper; Diabetes type 2 patients; Dietary intake; Hair; Iron; Serum; Zinc.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Copper / blood*
  • Copper / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / metabolism*
  • Diet*
  • Female
  • Hair / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Iron / blood*
  • Iron / metabolism
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Minerals / blood
  • Minerals / metabolism
  • Obesity / blood*
  • Obesity / metabolism*
  • Zinc / blood*
  • Zinc / metabolism


  • Minerals
  • Copper
  • Iron
  • Zinc