Dietary iron intake and risk of non-fatal acute myocardial infarction

Alessandra Tavani, Silvano Gallus, Cristina Bosetti, Maria Parpinel, Eva Negri, Carlo La Vecchia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: The relation between several measures of body iron and atherosclerotic disease, particularly acute myocardial infarction (AMI), is debated. This is of specific interest since iron is frequently included in supplementation and fortification of foods. We assessed the relation between dietary iron intake and the risk of non-fatal AMI. Design: Case-control study. The information was collected by interviewers using a food-frequency questionnaire tested for validity and reproducibility. Adjusted odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were obtained by multiple unconditional logistic regression models, including terms for energy and alcohol intakea, as well as for sociodemographic factors, tobacco and other major recognised risk factors for AMI. Setting: Milan, Italy, between 1995 and 1999. Subjects: Cases were 507 patients, below age 79 years, with a first episode of non-fatal AMI, and controls were 478 patients admitted to hospital for a wide spectrum of acute conditions unrelated to known or potential AMI risk factors. Results: Compared with patients in the lowest tertile of total iron intake, the OR was 0.48 (95% CI 0.29-0.82) for those in the highest tertile. The corresponding value for haem iron was 0.71 (95% CI 0.48-1.06), for non-haem, non-alcohol iron was 0.80 (95% CI 0.51-1.24) and for iron derived from alcoholic beverages was 0.60 (95% CI 0.40-0.90). Sex-specific OR for total iron intake were not heterogeneous. Conclusions: In this Italian population dietary iron intake was inversely related to AMI risk. This inverse association may depend on other nutrients present in the major sources of iron in the Italian diet.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)480-484
Number of pages5
JournalPublic Health Nutrition
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2006


  • Acute myocardial infarction
  • Case-control studies
  • Dietary iron
  • Risk factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Food Science


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