Biological Trace Element Research

, Volume 174, Issue 1, pp 32–39 | Cite as

Trace Element Alterations in the Hair of Diabetic and Obese Women

  • Sameer H. Fatani
  • Saleh A. K. SalehEmail author
  • Heba M. Adly
  • Altaf A. Abdulkhaliq


Alterations in the trace element content can induce metabolic disorders as these elements are involved in the regulation of metabolism. Obesity increases the likelihood of various diseases, particularly cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, and is more prevalent in Saudi Arabia, especially in women. This study explored the potential of alterations in hair trace elements as long-term markers in diabetic and/or obese Saudi females. In total, 65 diabetic obese women, 47 non-diabetic obese women, and 70 normal-weight women were recruited. Clinical and familial history and anthropometric variables were recorded. Hair Se, Zn, Cu, Mn, and Fe levels were analyzed. Fasting blood sugar (FBS), glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c), and lipid profile were analyzed. Our findings revealed a marked decrease of hair Zn, Mn, and Fe and elevated Se and Cu levels in obese women. In addition, Zn and Fe levels were decreased in diabetic women. Thus, the metabolic distress occurring in obesity and hyperglycemia may affect trace element status by increasing the excretion and decreasing the bioavailability of trace elements or redistributing them among various pools. Hair trace elements can serve as important long-term markers for metabolic disorders; however, larger prospective studies are warranted to validate their diagnostic and follow-up utilities.


Hair Trace elements Obesity Diabetes mellitus Women Saudi Arabia 



The authors thank the Institute of Scientific Research and Revival of Islamic Culture, Umm Al-Qura University, Makkah, Saudi Arabia, for funding this project (Project number 43209016).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Ethical considerations of this study were reviewed and approved by the research ethics committee at the Faculty of Medicine, Umm Al-Qura University, Makkah, Saudi Arabia.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all participants. All participants were informed of the aim and procedures and were assured that they could discontinue their participation in the study without any effect on the medical care provided to them.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sameer H. Fatani
    • 1
  • Saleh A. K. Saleh
    • 1
    Email author
  • Heba M. Adly
    • 1
  • Altaf A. Abdulkhaliq
    • 1
  1. 1.Biochemistry Department, Faculty of MedicineUmm Al-Qura UniversityMakkahSaudi Arabia

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