Open Access Serum copper levels among a tribal population in Jharkhand State, India: A pilot survey

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Background. Copper is an essential trace element that plays a pivotal role in cell physiology. Dietary intake of copper by a population of low-income groups in India has been found to be low, and hence the possibility of dietary copper deficiency exists.

Objective. To determine serum copper levels among tribal populations in India, an area in which data are limited.

Methods. The study was conducted among tribal populations 18 to 75 years of age residing in Sahibganj, Jharkhand. Two blocks in the district were selected (from a total of eight) for the detailed study. A semistructured pretested questionnaire was used to collect demographic and socioeconomic information about subjects. A total of 995 subjects were enrolled for the present study. Blood was drawn from the antecubital vein and collected in previously labeled polypropylene tubes. Serum copper was determined by the atomic absorption spectrophotometry method and serum samples with copper levels less than 80 g/dL were considered to have low serum copper levels.

Results. The mean serum copper concentration of the study subjects was 91.18 ± 35.48 g/dL. Thirty-four percent of the study subjects had low serum copper levels (< 80 g/dL). Nearly 35% of males and 34.4% of females had low serum copper levels.

Conclusions. This study documented a high prevalence of low serum copper levels among the studied tribal population. Further multicenter studies with larger sample sizes are needed to assess the biological implications of copper deficiency among the tribal populations in India.


Document Type: Short Communication

Publication date: September 1, 2005

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  • Established in 1978, the Food and Nutrition Bulletin (FNB) is a peer-reviewed journal published quarterly by the Nevin Scrimshaw International Nutrition Foundation.

    The focus of the journal is to highlight original scientific articles on nutrition research, policy analyses, and state-of-the-art summaries relating to multidisciplinary efforts to alleviate the problems of hunger and malnutrition in the developing world.

    Food and Nutrition Bulletin's 2012 Impact Factor: 2.106
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