Excessive body iron stores are not associated with risk of coronary heart disease in women.J Nutr. 2008 Dec; 138(12):2436-41.JN
The positive association between body iron stores and risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) initially observed among a Finnish male population has not been corroborated by studies conducted in other populations. The soluble transferrin receptor (sTfR):ferritin ratio has been suggested to be a better index than ferritin to measure body iron stores. Because sTfR is sensitive to iron deficiency, this ratio can distinguish individuals with similar ferritin levels with respect to their iron status. To evaluate this novel index in relation to CHD risk, we prospectively identified and confirmed 242 incident CHD cases and randomly selected 483 controls matched for age, smoking, and fasting status among women that provided blood samples in the Nurses' Health Study during 9 y of follow-up. In both crude and multivariate analyses, neither the sTfR:ferritin ratio nor ferritin was significantly associated with an elevated risk of CHD. After multivariate adjustment for established and potential CHD risk factors, compared with women in the lowest quartile of the sTfR:ferritin ratio, women in the 2nd to 4th quartiles had relative risks (RR) (95% CI) of 1.39 (0.82, 2.36), 1.12 (0.66, 1.91), and 1.13 (0.65, 1.97; P-trend = 0.61), respectively. The multivariate RR (95% CI) for ferritin were 1.05 (0.62, 1.77), 1.19 (0.69, 2.03), and 1.05 (0.60, 1.85; P-trend = 0.90) across quartiles. Our data do not support the hypothesis that excessive body iron stores are associated with risk of CHD.