1. bookVolume 8 (2015): Issue 2 (June 2015)
Journal Details
First Published
19 Jun 2009
Publication timeframe
4 times per year
access type Open Access

Plasma cadmium and zinc and their interrelationship in adult Nigerians: potential health implications

Published Online: 07 Mar 2016
Volume & Issue: Volume 8 (2015) - Issue 2 (June 2015)
Page range: 77 - 83
Received: 30 Sep 2014
Accepted: 22 May 2015
Journal Details
First Published
19 Jun 2009
Publication timeframe
4 times per year

Zinc (an essential trace element) and cadmium (a ubiquitous environmental pollutant with acclaimed toxicity) have been found to occur together in nature, with reported antagonism between the two elements. The present study aimed at determination of plasma levels of zinc (Zn) and cadmium (Cd) and their interrelationship in adult Nigerians. The series comprised adults (n=443) aged ≥18 yrs (mean ± SD 38.4±13.7 yrs), consisting of 117 males, 184 non-pregnant and 140 pregnant females. Sociodemographic data were collected by questionnaire while anthropometrics were determined using standard methods. Plasma Cd and Zn were determined by using an atomic absorption spectrophotometer. The mean plasma zinc and cadmium were 94.7±18.1 μg/dl and 0.150±0.548 μg/dl, respectively. Age, sex, pregnancy, and parity had no effect on either plasma Zn or Cd. Although educational level had no effect on plasma Zn, it had a significant effect on Cd; subjects possessing either secondary or tertiary education had significantly lower plasma Cd than subjects without formal education. Moreover, there seemed to be an inverse relationship between Cd and Zn, but this was not statistically significant (r=–0.089; p=0.061). Although plasma Zn was not related to BMI (r=0.037; p=0.432), Cd was significantly negatively correlated with BMI (r=–0.124; p=0.009). It may be concluded that adult Nigerians in Ebonyi State have elevated plasma levels of Cd, with apparent impact on the levels of plasma Zn. This has important public health implications considering the essential roles of Zn in the protection of Cd mediated adverse health effects. While food diversification is recommended to improve plasma Zn, efforts should be made to reduce exposure to Cd to mitigate partially its possible adverse effects.


Adekunle IM, Olorundare O, Nwange C. (2009). Assessments of Pb levels and daily intakes from green leafy vegetables of southwest Nigeria. Nutrition and Food Science39(4): 413–422.Search in Google Scholar

Andersen AMN, Mortensen LH. (2006). Socioeconomic inequality in birth outcomes: what do the indicators tell us, and where do we find the data. CMAJ174: 1429–30.Search in Google Scholar

Anetor JI. (2012). Rising environmental cadmium levels in developing countries: Threat to genome stability and health. Environ Anal Toxicol2: 4.Search in Google Scholar

Baecklund M, Pedersen NL, Bjorkman L, Vanfer M. (1999). Variation in blood concentrations of cadmium and lead in the elderly. Environ Res80: 222–230.Search in Google Scholar

Benoff S, Hauser R, Marmar JL, Hurley IR, Napolitano B, Centola GM. (2009). Cadmium concentrations in blood and seminal plasma: correlations with sperm number and motility in three male populations (infertility patients, artificial insemination donors, and unselected volunteers). Mol Med15: 248–262.Search in Google Scholar

Carruthers M, Smith B. (1979). Evidence of cadmium toxicity in a population living in a zinc-mining area. The Lancet21: 845–847.Search in Google Scholar

Clayson DB. (2000). Toxicological Carcinogenesis. Florida, Lewis Publishers, pp. 113–136.Search in Google Scholar

Ebonyi State Independent Electoral Commission (EBSIEC). (2011). Delineation of political wards in Ebonyi State. EBSIEC, Abakaliki.Search in Google Scholar

Edeogu CO, Ekuma CE, Okaka ANC, Ezeonu FC, Uneke CJ, Elom SO. (2007). Public health significance of metals’ concentration in soil, water and staple foods in Abakaliki, South-eastern Nigeria. Trends in Applied Sciences Research2(5): 439–444.Search in Google Scholar

Ehiri RC, Megwa UG, Omaka ON. (2010). Food Grinding Stones as a Source of Heavy Metals Contamination of Diets. J. Sciences & Multidisciplinary Research2: 113–120.Search in Google Scholar

Ekpo FE, Ukpong EJ, Udoumoh IDJ. (2014). Bioaccumulation of heavy metals on soil and arable crops grown in abandoned peacock paint industry in Ikot Ekan, Etinam Local Government Area, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria. Universal Journal of Environmental Resaerch and Technology4(1): 39–45.Search in Google Scholar

Hanachi P, Norrozi M, Moosavi RM. (2014). The Correlation of Prenatal Zinc Concentration and Deficiency with Anthropometric Factors. Journal of Family and Reproductive Health8(1): 21–26.Search in Google Scholar

Hartwig A. (2010). Mechanisms in cadmium-induced carcinogenicity: recent insights. Biometals23(5): 951–960.Search in Google Scholar

Ho E, Courtemanche C, Ames BN. (2003). Zinc deficiency induces oxidative DNA damage and increases p53 expression in human lung fibroblast. J Nutr133: 2543–2548.Search in Google Scholar

Jarup L, Akesson A. (2009). Current status of cadmium as an environmental health problem. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol238: 201–208.Search in Google Scholar

Jemai H, Lachkar HA, Messaoudi I, Kerkeni A. (2010). Effects of zinc pre-treatment on blood glutathione, serum zinc and kidney histological organisation in male rats exposed to cadmium. J Trace Elem Med Biol24: 277–282.Search in Google Scholar

Joseph P. (2009). Mechanisms of cadmium carcinogenesis. Toxicol Appl pharmacol238: 272–279.Search in Google Scholar

Julin B, Wolk A, Johansson J-E, Anderson S-O, Andren O, Akesson A. (2012). Dietary cadmium exposure and prostate cancer incidence: a population-based prospective study. British Journal of Cancer107: 895–900.Search in Google Scholar

Kheradmand F, Nourmohammadi I, Ahmadi-Faghih MA, Firoozrai M, Modarressi MH. (2013). Zinc and low-dose of cadmium protect sertoli cells against toxic-dose of cadmium: The role of metallothionine. Iran J Reprod Med11(6): 487–494.Search in Google Scholar

Kippler M, Goessler W, Nermell B, Ekstrom EC, Lonnerdal B, El Arifeen S, Vahter M. (2009). Factors influencing intestinal cadmium uptake in pregnant Bangladeshi women—a prospective cohort study. Environ Res109(7): 914–921.Search in Google Scholar

Klassen Cd, Liu J, Choudhuri S. (1999). Metallothionine: an intracellular protein to protect against cadmium toxicity. Ann Rev Pharmacol Toxicol39: 267–294.Search in Google Scholar

Levander OA, Cheng L. (1980). Micronutrients interaction: vitamins, minerals and hazardous elements. Ann NY Acad Sci355: 1–35.Search in Google Scholar

Maduabuchi JMU, Nzegwu CN, Adigba EO, Aloke RU, Ezomike CN, Okocha CE, et al. (2006). Pb and cadmium exposures from canned and non-canned beverages in Nigeria: a public health concern. The Science of the Total Environment366(2–3): 621–626.Search in Google Scholar

Mills CF. (1981). Interactions between elements in tissues: Studies in animal models. Fed Proc40: 2138–2143.Search in Google Scholar

Neggers Y, Goldenberg RL. (2003). Some thoughts on body mass index, micro-nutrient intakes and poor pregnancy outcomes. J Nutr133: 1737S–1340S.Search in Google Scholar

Neggers YH, Dubard MB, Goldenberg RL, Tamura T, Johnston KE, Copper RL, Hauth JC. (1996). Factors influencing plasma zinc levels in low-income pregnant women. Biol Trace Elem Res55(1–2): 127–35.Search in Google Scholar

Nnorom IC, Igwe JC, Oji-Nnorom CG. (2005). Trace metal contents of facial (make-up) cosmetics commonly used in Nigeria. Afr J Biotech4(10): 1133–1138.Search in Google Scholar

Obianime AW, Roberts II. (2009). Antioxidants, cadmium-induced toxicity, serum biochemical and histological abnormalities of the kidneys and testes of the male Wister rats. Nig J Physiol Sci24(2): 177–185.Search in Google Scholar

Ogbodo EN. (2013). Heavy metal levels in paddy soils and rice (Oryza sativa (L) exposed to agrochemicals at Ikwo, South-East Nigeria. International Journal of Agriculture Innovations and Research2(3): 417–421.Search in Google Scholar

Oldereid NB, Thomassen Y, Attramadal A, Olaisen B, Purvis K. (1993). Concentrations of lead, cadmium and zinc in the tissues of reproductive organs of men. J Reprod Fert99: 421–5.Search in Google Scholar

Omaka ON. (2008). Sources and Effects of Lead Pollution in the Environment-A Review. J. Applied Natural Sciences3(1): 28–35Search in Google Scholar

Omaka ON, Igidi JO, Nwabue FI, Itumoh EJ. (2011). The Impacts of Oil Spill and Soil Factors on Trace Metals in Sediments (Soils) of Abakaliki and Afikpo, Nigeria. Journal of Emerging Trends in Engineering and Applied Sciences (JE-TEAS)2(4): 648–657.Search in Google Scholar

Onwuchekwa IS, Etok CA, Ogbonna CE, Ezekwe CI. (2009). Effect of mine-water on agricultural soil quality in Ishiagu, Ebonyi State. Nigerian Journal of Microbiology23(1): 1823–1829.Search in Google Scholar

Orisakwe OE, Nduka JK, Amadi CN, Dike DO, Bede O. (2012). Heavy metals health risk assessment for population via consumption of food crops and fruits in Owerri, South Eastern, Nigeria. Chemistry Central Journal6: 77.Search in Google Scholar

Schauberger CW, Rooney BL, Brimer LM. (1992). Factors that influence weight loss in the puerperium. Obstetrics and Gynecology79: 424–429.Search in Google Scholar

Staessen JA, Lauwerys RR, Ide G, Roels HA, Vyncke G, Amery A. (1994). Renal function and historical environmental cadmium pollution from zinc smelters. Lancet343(8912): 1523–7.Search in Google Scholar

Ugwuja EI, Ugwu NC. (2008). Urinary findings in young adults in Abakaliki, Nigeria. Nigerian Journal of Clinical Practice11(3): 275–278.Search in Google Scholar

Ugwuja EI, Akubugwo EI, Ibiam UA, Obidoa O. (2010). Maternal BMI during Pregnancy: Impacts on trace elements status and pregnancy outcomes. International Journal of Health Research3(2): 71–78.Search in Google Scholar

Ugwuja EI, Ejikeme B N, Obuna JA, Ibiam UA and Agbafor KN. (2013). Blood Lead Levels in Pregnant Nigerian Women in Abakaliki, South Eastern Nigeria. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment185(5): 3795–3801.Search in Google Scholar

Ugwuja EI, Ogbonnaya LU, Obuna JA, Awelegbe F, Uro-Chukwu H for EBSU Micronutrient and Toxicology Research Team (EBSU-NUTREST). (2015). Anemia in Relation to Body Mass Index (BMI) and Socio-Demographic Characteristics among Nigerian Adults in Ebonyi State. J Clin Diagn Res9(1): LC04–LC07.Search in Google Scholar

Ugwuja EI, Ugwu NC and Ejikeme BN. (2008). Prevalence of Low Sperm Count and Abnormal Semen Parameters in Male Partners of Women Consulting Infertility Clinic in Abakaliki, Nigeria. African Journal of Reproductive Health12(1): 67–73.Search in Google Scholar

Vahter M, Akesson A, Liden C, Ceccatelli S, Berglund M. (2007). Gender differences in the deposition and toxicity of metals. Environ Res104: 85–95.Search in Google Scholar

van Wijngaarden E, Singer EA, Palapattu GS. (2008). Prostate-specific antigen levels in relation to cadmium exposure and zinc intake: results from the 2001–2002 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Prostate68 (2): 122–128.Search in Google Scholar

Watanabe T, Shimbo S, Nakatsuka H, Koizumi A, Higashikawa K, Matsuda-Inoguchi N, Ikeda M. (2004). Gender-related difference, geographic variation and time trend in dietary cadmium intake in Japan. Scin Total Environ329(1–3): 17–27.Search in Google Scholar

World Health Organization (WHO). (1992). Cadmium. Environmental Health Criteria, No 134.Search in Google Scholar

World Medical Association Declaration of Helsinki. (2000). Ethical principles for medical research involving human subjects. World Medical Association, Available at http://www.wma.net/e/policy/b3.htm. Accessed June August, 2014.Search in Google Scholar

Recommended articles from Trend MD

Plan your remote conference with Sciendo