Copper and Zinc Status as a Risk Factor for lschemic Heart Disease: A Comparison Between Japanese in Brazil and Okinawa

he present study compares 75 Japanese men and women living in Okinawa (age adjusted mortality rate for IHD: men 26.41; women 14.48) with 164 Japanese immigrants in Brazi[(IHD: men 89.45; women 62.62)> In each population, leucocyte copper levels were the same in men and women, but plasma copper was 15% lower in men than women (P<0.005).Leucocyte copper was 33% higher (P<0.001) in Okinawa in both men and women, but plasma copper was the same. There were no differences in plasma zinc and leucocyte zinc between men and women in each population. However, the leucocyte zinc and plasma zinc was higher in Brazilian immigrants (19% and 116% respectively). The leucocyte Zn/Cu ratio in Brazilian immigrants was 60% higher than in Okinawa (P<0.001). In each population, men had the same total serum cholesterol as women. And there was no difference between these two populations. HDL cholesterol was 20% higher in women than men (P<0.05) in both populations and 20% higher in Okinawa than in Brazil (P<0.05). Okinawa has a high dietary intake of copper, mostly from ahelifish and seaweed, whereas Brazil has a high intake of zinc, especially from meat. It is concluded that leucocyte copper and zinc are good indexes of intracellular trace elements status. Japanese immigrants in Brazil have a lower copper status and higher zinc status than those living in Okinawa where there is less IHD mortality. A low intake of copper and high intake of zinc may be associated with increased IHD.

DW Mielcarz, AN Howard, NR Williams, GD Kinsman, E Moriguchi, Y Mizushima, Y Yamori J Trace Elem 10:29-35 Exp Med 1997