Submitted to: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/1/2000
Publication Date: 5/1/2000
Citation: Klevay, L.M. 2000. Dietary copper and risk of coronary heart disease [letter to editor]. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 71:1213-1214.
Technical Abstract: Liu et al. found that higher intakes of whole-grain foods were associated with lower risks of both fatal and nonfatal coronary heart disease among thousands of women under investigation since 1984. The association was not fully explained by the contribution of whole grain to intakes of dietary fiber, folate or vitamins B-6 and E. The authors suggested the possibility of additional protective effects of other constituents. An accompanying editorial mentioned more than a baker's dozen of possibly protective constituents concentrated in whole grains, copper among them. That copper nutriture may affect risk of coronary heart disease first was suggested in the Journal in 1973. The original hypothesis has been modified and has evolved into the copper deficiency theory of the etiology and pathophysiology of ischemic heart disease because of numerous, consonant experiments with animals and people. In brief, the Western diet frequently is low in copper. Copper deficiency is the only nutritional insult that elevates cholesterol, blood pressure and uric acid, has adverse effects on electrocardiograms, impairs glucose tolerance, to which males respond differently than females, and which promotes thrombosis and defense against oxidative damage. More than 75 anatomical, chemical and physiological similarities between animals deficient in copper and people with ischemic heart disease have been identified. Copper deficiency is offered as the simplest and most general explanation of ischemic heart disease. One wonders if comparison of higher with lower grain quintiles will detect higher copper in the former. Such a result would be compatible with low indices of copper status found by others in people with heart disease.