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Br J Nutr. 2013 Feb 28;109(4):686-94. doi: 10.1017/S0007114512001912. Epub 2012 May 29.

Specific micronutrient concentrations are associated with inflammatory cytokines in a rural population of Mexican women with a high prevalence of obesity.

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Facultad de Ciencias Naturales, Universidad Autónoma de Querétaro, Av de la Ciencia S/N, Juriquilla, Querétaro, Qro, CP 76230, Mexico.
School of Population Health, University of Queensland, Queensland, Australia.
CICATA, IPN, Querétaro, Qro, Mexico.


It has been recognised recently that obese individuals have lower concentrations of micronutrients and this may affect the concentrations of inflammatory cytokines. A cross-sectional study was carried out to evaluate the association of specific micronutrients' status with chronic inflammation caused by obesity in 280 women (36·1 (SD 7·5) years) from seven rural communities in Mexico. Measurements of weight, height and waist circumference were made on all women and body composition was determined by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Concentrations of the cytokines IL-1, TNF-α, IL-6, IL-10 and IL-12, lipid profile, and the micronutrients Zn and vitamins A, C and E were determined in fasting blood samples. Ordered logistic regression models were used to determine associations between categorised cytokine levels and micronutrients. It was found that 80% of women were overweight or obese, and had significantly higher concentrations of C-reactive protein than normal-weight women (P= 0·05). The risk of higher levels of TNF-α, IL-6, IL-10 and IL-12 was reduced significantly among women with higher Zn concentrations (OR 0·63, 95% CI 0·42, 0·96, P= 0·03; OR 0·57, 95% CI 0·39, 0·86, P= 0·025; OR 0·63, 95% CI 0·41, 0·96, P= 0·04; OR 0·62, 95% CI 0·41, 0·95, P= 0·03, respectively). Higher concentrations of vitamin A were slightly associated with reduced risks of higher levels of IL-1 and IL-12 (OR 0·97, 95% CI 0·95, 0·99, P= 0·03; OR 0·97, 95% CI 0·94, 0·99, P= 0·03, respectively); when adjusting for BMI, this association was lost. No associations were found between vitamin C or vitamin E:lipids concentrations and inflammatory cytokines. In conclusion, higher Zn concentrations are associated with reduced risks of higher concentration of inflammation markers in a population of women with a high prevalence of obesity.

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