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Nutrition. 2015 Oct;31(10):1243-6. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2015.04.021.

Determination of trace elements in Ethiopian, Vietnamese, and Japanese women using high-resolution IC-PMS.

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Addis Ababa University, Aklilu Lemma Institute of Pathobiology, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Electronic address:
Department of Biochemistry, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Gondar, Gondar, Ethiopia.
Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Parasitology, School of Medicine, College of Health Sciences, Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Department of Pediatrics, Saint Paul Millennium Medical College, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Department of Science and Network Direction, National Institute for Food Control, Hanoi, Vietnam.
Division of Medicine and Nursing, Hokkaido University of Education Sapporo, Sapporo, Japan.
Department of Chemical Science and Technology, University of Tokushima, Tokushima, Japan.
Department of Child Health, Hokkaido University of Education, Japan.
Department of Preventive Environment and Nutrition, University of Tokushima, Tokushima, Japan.



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.


Calcium; Copper; Ethiopian; Iron; Japanese; Magnesium; Selenium; Vietnamese; Zinc

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