Objective: To study the association of serum calcium, magnesium, copper and zinc concentrations with cardiovascular mortality.
Design: A nested case-control study within a prospective population study.
Subjects and methods: 230 men dying from cardiovascular diseases and 298 controls matched for age, place of residence, smoking and follow-up time. Mean follow-up time was 10 years. Serum calcium, magnesium, copper and zinc concentrations were determined from samples kept frozen at -20 degrees C.
Results: High serum copper and low serum zinc concentrations were significantly associated with an increased mortality from all cardiovascular diseases and from coronary heart disease in particular. The relative risk of coronary heart disease mortality between the highest and lowest tertiles of serum copper and zinc were 2.86 (P = 0.03) and 0.69 (P = 0.04), respectively. Adjustment for social class, serum cholesterol, body mass index, hypertension and known heart disease at baseline examination did not materially alter the results. No significant differences were observed in concentrations of serum calcium and magnesium between cases and controls.
Conclusions: High serum copper and low serum zinc are associated with increased cardiovascular mortality whereas no association was found with serum calcium and magnesium and mortality risk.