Biological Trace Element Research

, Volume 133, Issue 3, pp 304–312 | Cite as

Nail Antioxidant Trace Elements Are Inversely Associated with Inflammatory Markers in Healthy Young Adults

  • Blanca Puchau
  • María Ángeles Zulet
  • Helen Hermana Miranda Hermsdorff
  • Íñigo Navarro-Blasco
  • J. Alfredo Martínez


Antioxidant intake may be linked to a reduction of the chronic low-grade inflammatory state related to obesity and several accompanying disorders such as insulin resistance, cardiovascular diseases, and metabolic syndrome. So, the aim of this study was to evaluate the potential associations between nail trace elements and several indicators in healthy young adults, emphasizing on the putative effect of antioxidant trace element intake on inflammation-related marker concentrations. This study enrolled 149 healthy young adults, whose anthropometrical and blood pressure values as well as lifestyle features were analyzed. Fasting blood samples were collected for the biochemical and inflammation-related measurements (C-reactive protein, tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), interleukin (IL)-6, IL-18, and homocysteine). Nail samples were collected for the analysis of selenium, zinc, and copper concentrations. Our results showed that nail selenium was negatively associated with IL-18; nail zinc concentrations were inversely related to circulating IL-6, IL-18, and TNF-α, whereas nail copper (Cu) and Cu/selenium values were negatively correlated with homocysteine levels and the Cu/zinc ratio was unaffected. In conclusion, nail content on some trace elements related to antioxidant defense mechanisms seems to be associated with several inflammation-related markers linked to chronic diseases in apparently healthy young adults, which is of interest to understand the role of antioxidant intake.


Inflammation Oxidative stress Antioxidant Trace element Nail Selenium Zinc Copper 



This study is supported by the Línea Especial about Nutrition, Obesity and Health (LE/97), the Health Department of the Government of Navarra (22/2007), Ibercaja, the ADA fellowships scheme of the University of Navarra and the Capes Foundation of the Ministry of Education of Brazil (375605-0). We thank Amaia González de Echávarri for her help with the recruitment and the data collection, Verónica Ciáurriz and Ana Lorente for technical assistance, Blanca Martínez de Morentin and Salomé Pérez for assistance with the data collection, and all those who volunteered to participate in the study.


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Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Blanca Puchau
    • 1
  • María Ángeles Zulet
    • 1
  • Helen Hermana Miranda Hermsdorff
    • 1
  • Íñigo Navarro-Blasco
    • 2
  • J. Alfredo Martínez
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Nutrition and Food Science, Physiology and ToxicologyUniversity of NavarraPamplonaSpain
  2. 2.Department of Chemistry and Soil ScienceUniversity of NavarraPamplonaSpain

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