Humans and other living organisms require small quantities of trace elements throughout life. Both insufficient and excessive intakes of trace elements can have negative consequences. However, there is little information on serum level of trace elements in different populations. This study examines serum levels of trace elements in Ethiopian, Japanese, and Vietnamese women.
Random samples of healthy women who were referred for routine hospital laboratory examinations in the cities of Hanoi, Sapporo, and Gondar were invited to participate in the study. Serum levels of magnesium, zinc, copper, iron, selenium, and calcium were determined using an inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer. Furthermore, body mass index of each study participant was determined.
The mean ± SD serum concentrations of zinc (μg/dL), copper (μg/dL), iron (μg/dL), selenium (μg/dL) and calcium (mg/dL), respectively, were 76.51 ± 39.16, 152.20 ± 55.37, 385.68 ± 217.95, 9.15 ± 4.21, and 14.18 ± 3.91 in Ethiopian women; 111.49 ± 52.92, 105.86 ± 26.02, 155.09 ± 94.83, 14.11 ± 3.41, and 11.66 ± 2.51 in Vietnamese women; and 60.69 ± 9.76, 107 ± 156, 268 ± 128, 8.33 ± 3.65, and 11.18 ± 0.68 in Japanese participants. Ethiopian women had significantly higher level of serum calcium than Vietnamese and Japanese women (both P < 0.05). Although the mean calcium concentration in Vietnamese women was higher than in women from Japan, the difference was not statistically significant (P > 0.05). Furthermore, compared with Japanese women, Ethiopian women had significantly high iron and copper concentrations (P < 0.05). Serum selenium and zinc levels were higher in Vietnamese than Ethiopian women.
The study revealed a remarkable difference in serum concentrations of trace elements in women from different countries, implying differences in trace elements in the food or soil.