Vegetarian Isotopes

Vegetarian Isotopes

Author: David Bradley

A research team based at Ghent University, Belgium, and their colleagues in Italy and Sweden have used multi-collector inductively coupled plasma (ICP)-mass spectrometry to test whole human blood from healthy subjects and analyze for copper, iron, and zinc as well as comparing isotopic ratios. Each ion is important in various diseases and disorders and so understanding how diet, gender, and other factors influence the absorption and loss of these metals could explain many diseases’ pathologies.

The team demonstrated that isotopic composition of zinc is governed by diet, with significant differences for vegetarians (lower concentrations) and omnivores. They also confirmed previous results suggesting that the iron isotopic ratio is different between men and women. Finally, neither gender nor diet apparently influence copper isotopic ratio alone, but combined there may be an effect that requires further investigation.

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