Iron intake and the risk of type 2 diabetes in women: a prospective cohort study.Diabetes Care 2006; 29(6):1370-6DC
Epidemiological studies suggest that high body iron stores are associated with insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. The aim of this study was to evaluate the association between dietary intake of iron and the risk of type 2 diabetes.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
We conducted a prospective cohort study within the Nurses' Health Study. We followed 85,031 healthy women aged 34-59 years from 1980 to 2000. Dietary data were collected every 4 years, and data on medical history and lifestyle factors were updated biennially.
During the 20 years of follow-up, we documented 4,599 incident cases of type 2 diabetes. We found no association between total, dietary, supplemental, or nonheme iron and the risk of type 2 diabetes. However, heme iron intake (derived from animal products) was positively associated with risk; relative risks (RRs) across increasing quintiles of cumulative intake were 1.00, 1.08 (95% CI 0.97-1.19), 1.20 (1.09-1.33), 1.27 (1.14-1.41), and 1.28 (1.14-1.45) (P(trend) < 0.0001) after controlling for age, BMI, and other nondietary and dietary risk factors. In addition, when we modeled heme iron in seven categories, the multivariate RR comparing women who consumed > or =2.25 mg/day and those with intake <0.75 mg/day was 1.52 (1.22-1.88). The association between heme iron and the risk of diabetes was significant in both overweight and lean women.
This large cohort study suggests that higher heme iron intake is associated with a significantly increased risk of type 2 diabetes.