Biological Trace Element Research

, Volume 146, Issue 1, pp 30–34 | Cite as

Serum Iron, Zinc, and Copper Concentration in Premature Graying of Hair

  • Farahnaz Fatemi Naieni
  • Bahareh EbrahimiEmail author
  • Hamid Reza Vakilian
  • Zabihollah Shahmoradi


Premature graying of hair with unclear etiology, which is known as premature canities, is a common cause of referrals to the dermatologists. We assessed the relationship between serum iron, copper, and zinc concentrations with premature canities. This study was conducted on patients under 20 years old suffering from premature canities, having a minimum of ten gray hair fibers, and referring to university hospitals of Isfahan (Iran). The results were compared with age–sex-matched controls. Demographic data and disease characteristics were recorded for two groups. We studied serum iron, copper, and zinc concentrations of 66 patients and 66 controls using atomic absorption and Ferrozine methods. The mean age of studied cases was 17.8 ± 2.0 years, and the mean age of the onset of canities was 15.5 ± 3.2 years with no significant difference between males and females (P > 0.05). Serum copper concentration was significantly lower in patients compared with controls (90.7 ± 37.4 vs. 105.3 ± 50.2 μg/dL, P = 0.048), but serum iron concentration was significantly lower in controls compared to patients (88.8 ± 39.5 vs. 108.3 ± 48.4 μg/dL, P = 0.008). Also, there was no significant difference between patients and controls in serum zinc concentration (114.8 ± 67.8 vs. 108.2 ± 49.9 μg/dL, P = 0.285). According to these results, among copper, zinc, and iron, a low serum copper concentration may play a role in premature graying of hairs in our society. Further studies are needed to find the underlying mechanism of this relationship.


Serum mineral concentration Nutrition Premature graying of hair Canities Zinc Iron Copper 


Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Farahnaz Fatemi Naieni
    • 1
    • 5
    • 6
  • Bahareh Ebrahimi
    • 2
    • 4
    Email author
  • Hamid Reza Vakilian
    • 3
  • Zabihollah Shahmoradi
    • 1
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of DermatologyIsfahan University of Medical SciencesIsfahanIran
  2. 2.Medical Students Research CenterSchool of Medicine, Isfahan University of Medical SciencesIsfahanIran
  3. 3.Department of SurgeryShahid Beheshti University of Medical SciencesTehranIran
  4. 4.Skin Disease and Leishmaniasis Research Center, Department of DermatologyAl-Zahra HospitalIsfahanIran
  5. 5.Skin Disease and Leishmaniasis Research CenterIsfahan University of Medical SciencesIsfahanIran
  6. 6.Skin and Stem Cell Research CenterTehran University of Medical SciencesTehranIran

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