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01.02.2013 | Original Contribution | Ausgabe 1/2013

European Journal of Nutrition 1/2013

Effect of hereditary haemochromatosis genotypes and iron overload on other trace elements

European Journal of Nutrition > Ausgabe 1/2013
Jeffrey M. Beckett, Madeleine J. Ball



Hereditary haemochromatosis is a common genetic disorder involving dysregulation of iron absorption. There is some evidence to suggest that abnormal iron absorption and metabolism may influence the status of other important trace elements. In this study, the effect of abnormal HFE genotypes and associated iron overload on the status of other trace elements was examined.


Dietary data and blood samples were collected from 199 subjects (mean age = 55.4 years; range = 21–81 years). Dietary intakes, serum selenium, copper and zinc concentrations and related antioxidant enzymes (glutathione peroxidase and superoxide dismutase) in subjects with normal HFE genotype (n = 118) were compared to those with abnormal HFE genotype, with both normal iron status (n = 42) and iron overload (n = 39).


For most dietary and biochemical variables measured, there were no significant differences between study groups. Red cell GPx was significantly higher in male subjects with normal genotypes and normal iron status compared to those with abnormal genotypes and normal iron status (P = 0.03) or iron overload (P = 0.001). Red cell GPx was also highest in normal women and significantly lower in the abnormal genotype and normal iron group (P = 0.016), but not in the iron overload group (P = 0.078).


Although it may not be possible to exclude a small effect between the genotype groups on RBC GPx, overall, haemochromatosis genotypes or iron overload did not appear to have a significant effect on selenium, copper or zinc status.

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