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Biol Trace Elem Res. 2012 Oct;149(1):34-41. doi: 10.1007/s12011-012-9405-x. Epub 2012 Apr 25.

Postmenopausal vegetarians' low serum ferritin level may reduce the risk for metabolic syndrome.

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Department of Food and Nutrition, Kangwon National University, Samcheok 245-711, South Korea.


The present study was conducted to compare the serum ferritin status between the postmenopausal vegetarians and non-vegetarians and to identify the relation of serum ferritin with metabolic syndrome (MetS) risk factors in postmenopausal women. The two study groups consisted of postmenopausal vegetarians (n=59) who maintained a vegetarian diet for over 20 years and age-matched non-vegetarian controls (n=48). Anthropometric measurements, dietary intakes, serum metabolic syndrome-related parameters, and serum ferritin level between the two groups were compared. The vegetarians exhibited significantly lower weight (p<0.01), body mass index (BMI) (p<0.001), percentage of body fat (p<0.001), waist circumference (p<0.01), SBP (p<0.001), DBP (p<0.001), and fasting glucose (p<0.05). According to the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP)-Adult Treatment Panel III criteria for MetS applying Korean guidelines for waist circumference, the prevalence of MetS was lower in vegetarians (33.9 %) than in non-vegetarians (47.9 %). Vegetarians had significantly lower serum level of ferritin (p<0.01) than non-vegetarians. In the correlation analysis, serum ferritin was positively related to fasting glucose (r=0.264, p<0.01), triglycerides (r=0.232, p<0.05), and the NCEP score (r=0.214, p<0.05) and negatively related to high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (r=-0.225, p<0.05) after adjusting for BMI, lifestyle, and dietary factors (animal protein, animal fat, and dietary fiber intake). In conclusion, postmenopausal vegetarians had lower MetS presence and a lower serum ferritin level compared to non-vegetarians. Furthermore, vegetarians' low serum ferritin level may reduce the risk of MetS in postmenopausal women.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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