Send to

Choose Destination
Toxicology. 2000 Aug 21;149(2-3):143-8.

Bone-related mineral content of water samples collected on the Navajo reservation.

Author information

Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center, Room 126, Building 308, BARC-East, ARS-USDA, Beltsville, MD 20705, USA.


Although dairy food intake is low among the Navajo people, hip fracture rates are lower than in Caucasians. Genetic differences in bone density have been cited as the reasons for low fracture rates among Native Americans and other segments of the population. However, more detailed examination of mineral intakes suggests that environmental factors may provide part of the explanation for the lower fracture rates. Cultural practices such as the addition of ash to traditional foods and the high mineral content of water may provide much higher intakes of bone-related minerals than food intake surveys have previously reported. As part of a larger study to assess overall intake of minerals related to bone health and other conditions, water samples were collected from the Navajo reservation. Duplicates were collected at least one week apart from 53 sites including wells, springs, taps, and storage barrels and analyzed by atomic absorption and inductively coupled plasma spectrometry for a number of minerals. For average intakes of 2 l/day, water could provide up to 212 mg of calcium, 150 mg of magnesium and 8 mg of zinc. The combined contribution of mineral intakes provided by the addition of juniper ash to traditional foods, not genetic differences, may partially explain the lower fracture rates of the Navajo people. Further research in this area is required to confirm this hypothesis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center