The Effect of Diet on the Variation of Blood and Urine Heavy Metal Biomarkers Among National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) Subjects: A Secondary Data Analysis
Master of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics Research Reports 2021
Background: Heavy metals are non-essential elements that provide no biological benefit to the human body. Heavy metals such as lead, mercury, arsenic, and cadmium are toxic to humans even in trace amounts. Humans are exposed to various heavy metals through ingestion of contaminated food and water supplies. Heavy metals can accumulate in body organs and displace essential minerals leading to detrimental health effects such as neurological, endocrine, and immune dysfunction, that can result in long-term damage.
Objective: The purpose of this graduate student research study was to examine the effect of diet on the variation of blood and urine lead, mercury, arsenic, and cadmium biomarkers among National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) participants.
Design: Secondary Data Analysis
Statistics: Using SPSS version 25.0, all food groups were stratified, and the data was fitted to a crude linear regression. Means of heavy metals in blood and urine were computed and percent variability of heavy metals accounted for by diet were expressed as R2 values. All analysis were considered significant at p < 0.05.
Results: Diet accounts for a small variation in blood and urine heavy metal levels (2.2-7.6%). Blood mercury and blood cadmium measured higher than the acceptable limits at 1.10 (±2.24) and 0.31 (±0.44) micrograms, respectively.
Conclusion: Factors including industrial exposure, air or water pollution, cigarette smoke, household exposure, medications, lead-based paint, improperly coated foods, and occupation may account for >90% variation in blood and urine heavy metal levels. Heavy metals have been shown to displace our bodies essential minerals such as zinc, magnesium, and calcium. It is extremely important that health professionals educate their patients about heavy metals. Further statistical analysis should be conducted to account for the effect of confounding factors and to further elucidate the relationships between foods and heavy metals present in blood and urine biomarkers.
Nutrition and Dietetics
Nutrition and Dietetics
School of Allied Health Professions
Master of Science (MS)
Year Degree Awarded
Date (Title Page)
Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings
Heavy Metals--Bioaccumulation; Contaminated food; Diet--Nutritional aspects;
Loma Linda University Libraries
This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.
Lingo, Devineé and Perri, Alyssa, "The Effect of Diet on the Variation of Blood and Urine Heavy Metal Biomarkers Among National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) Subjects: A Secondary Data Analysis" (2021). Loma Linda University Research Reports. 19.
Loma Linda University Research Reports
Loma Linda University. University Libraries.