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The trace minerals zinc, copper, iron, and selenium are essential micronutrients, and because of their antioxidant activity, they are hypothesized to improve cardiovascular health. However, their associations with different risk levels for cardiovascular diseases are less clear. Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2007-2014 were used. In this study, the ratio of total cholesterol to high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (TC/HDL-C) was used as a risk marker for cardiovascular disease, and a ratio ≥ 5 was considered to indicate high risk. A total of 7597 adults (3673 men and 3924 women) were included, and 15.9% of the participants had a high risk of cardiovascular disease. Using quantile regression analysis, we found the negative correlation between zinc, copper, iron, and selenium intakes and TC/HDL-C. The effects of copper and zinc were enhanced with increasing quantiles of risk levels. In addition, the difference in the associations of the trace minerals was sex-dependent. The correlation between iron and cardiovascular risk in males was stronger than those in females, while that of copper was weaker than that in females. Moreover, a significant nonlinear relationship between selenium and the TC/HDL-C ratio was only found in females, and this relationship was U-shaped. Our findings suggest that among healthy adults in the US, zinc, copper, iron, and selenium intakes are inversely associated with cardiovascular disease risk, and the effect is enhanced with increasing quantiles of risk levels, with magnitudes differing by sex. Therefore, trace minerals may have the ability to prevent cardiovascular disease.


Xiaoyu Ma, Shan Jiang, Shoumeng Yan, Meng Li, Changcong Wang, Yingan Pan, Chong Sun, Lina Jin, Yan Yao, Bo Li. Association Between Copper, Zinc, Iron, and Selenium Intakes and TC/HDL-C Ratio in US Adults. Biological trace element research. 2020 Sep;197(1):43-51

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PMID: 31745720

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