Exposure to heavy metals may increase osteoporosis risk
Iran: Exposure to heavy metals such as cadmium and lead may increase the risk of osteoporosis, according to a recent study published in the journal Osteoporosis International.
The relationship between heavy metal exposure and osteoporosis or osteopenia risk has biological plausibility, yet the association remains inconclusive. Therefore, C. Jalili, University of Medical Sciences, Kermanshah, Iran, and colleagues conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to evaluate the associations between exposure to heavy metals (i.e., cadmium, lead, and mercury) and the risk of osteopenia or osteoporosis.
The researchers searched databases of MEDLINE, Embase, Scopus, and Web of Science through 2019, to identify studies that evaluated the relationship between exposure to cadmium, lead and mercury and risk of osteopenia or osteoporosis in adults. Fourteen eligible studies were included. Effect sizes expressed as pooled odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were estimated using weighted random-effect models.
Key findings of the study include:
- Exposure to cadmium (OR = 1.35) and lead (OR = 1.15) was associated with an increased risk of osteopenia or osteoporosis, unlike mercury.
- Subgroup analyses showed cadmium exposure increased the risk of osteopenia or osteoporosis in older (> 65 yrs.; OR = 1.43) compared with younger (18-65 yrs.; OR = 1.24) adults.
- Lead exposure increased the risk in men (OR = 1.55) unlike in women.
- By contrast to urinary levels, blood (OR = 1.26) and dietary (OR = 1.46) levels of cadmium were associated with an increased risk of osteopenia or osteoporosis.
"Exposure to cadmium and lead may be associated with an increased risk of osteopenia or osteoporosis, although high heterogeneity was detected," concluded the authors.
The study, "Exposure to heavy metals and the risk of osteopenia or osteoporosis: a systematic review and meta-analysis," is published in the journal Osteoporosis International.