Adults with higher levels of plasma strontium were less likely to have type 2 diabetes or impaired glucose regulation than those with smaller amounts, according to findings published in Clinical Nutrition.
“Strontium is one of the ubiquitous trace elements in nature and human tissues,” Frank Hu, MD, MPH, PhD, chair of the department of nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, Liegang Liu, of the department of nutrition and food hygiene at Hubei Key Laboratory of Food Nutrition and Safety of Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan, China, and colleagues wrote. “Strontium appears to be involved in antioxidation and adipose metabolism, which have been implicated in the development of type 2 diabetes mellitus. Therefore, strontium might be a potential contributor to the treatment of diabetes.”
The researchers analyzed data from 4,460 age-matched adults aged at least 35 years but younger than 75 years with a BMI of less than 40 kg/m2 from Tongji Medical College Hospital in Wuhan, China, for a case-control study. Among the participants, 1,448 had type 2 diabetes (mean age, 49.9 years; 42.5% women), 782 had impaired glucose regulation (mean age, 50 years; 38.1% women) and 2,230 had neither condition (mean age, 49.8 years; 40.9% women).
According to the researchers, a fasting glucose level of at least 6.1 mmol/L but below 7 mmol/L or a level of at least 7.8 mmol/L but below 11.1 mmol/L during an oral glucose tolerance test confirmed impaired glucose regulation.
Coupled plasma mass spectrometry allowed the researchers to measure plasma strontium. Fasting plasma glucose, insulin, total cholesterol, triglycerides, HDL cholesterol and LDL cholesterol were measured in blood samples, which were also used to conduct 2-hour OGTTs.
Adults with higher levels of plasma strontium were less likely to have type 2 diabetes or impaired glucose regulation than those with smaller amounts.
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Four quartiles of strontium measurements were created: less than 34.99 µg/L, between 34.99 µg/L and less than 40.82 µg/L, between 40.82 µg/L and less than 47.76 µg/L, and at least 47.76 µg/L.
Participants with type 2 diabetes had a median strontium level of 35.8 µg/L while participants with impaired glucose regulation had a median level of 37.9 µg/L and participants without either condition had a median level of 40.8 µg/L (P < .001).
In fully adjusted models, those with at least 47.76 µg/L of strontium were 55% less likely to have type 2 diabetes compared with those with less than 34.99 µg/L (OR = 0.45; 95% CI, 0.35-0.57). Those in the second (OR = 0.51; 95% CI, 0.4-0.63) and third quartiles (OR = 0.43; 95% CI, 0.34-0.54) were also less likely to have type 2 diabetes than those with less than 34.99 µg/L of strontium. Based on these findings, the researchers said “with the increase in plasma strontium, the odds of type 2 diabetes decreased significantly and [were] followed by a plateau.”
In addition, those with at least 47.76 µg/L of strontium were 45% less likely to have impaired glucose regulation compared with those with less than 34.99 µg/L (OR = 0.55; 95% CI, 0.43-0.71). Those in the second (OR = 0.59; 95% CI, 0.46-0.75) and third quartiles (OR = 0.67; 95% CI, 0.52-0.85) were also less likely to have impaired glucose regulation than those with less than 34.99 µg/L of strontium.
“The current study revealed an inverse association between plasma strontium and type 2 diabetes and impaired glucose regulation,” the researchers wrote. “While strontium is regarded as a nonessential trace element so far, its role in endocrine and metabolism should be noted.” – by Phil Neuffer
Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.