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ARS Home » Plains Area » Grand Forks, North Dakota » Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center » Healthy Body Weight Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #134436



Submitted to: Archives of Internal Medicine
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/24/2002
Publication Date: 8/26/2002
Citation: Klevay, L.M. Copper in legumes may lower heart disease risk. 2002. Archives of Internal Medicine. v.162. p.1780-1781.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Data from the First National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey Epidemiologic Follow-up Study revealed that people who ate legumes regularly had less coronary heart disease. An increase in dietary copper (Cu) with increasing legume consumption also may have contributed to the results in addition to other characteristics of beans. Cu deficiency is the only nutritional insult that elevates cholesterol, blood pressure and uric acid, has adverse effects on electrocardiograms, impairs glucose tolerance, promotes thrombosis and oxidative damage, and to which males respond differently than females. The Western diet often is low in Cu, with approximately 1/3 of 849 daily, analyzed diets containing less than 1 mg. Legumes are in the upper tertile ranked according to Cu content. Calculations using the Cu values for beans reveal that people eating the most legumes received 0.5 mg more Cu daily than people who ate none. This amount of extra Cu is more than 3/4 the Estimated Average Requirement or 60% the daily Recommended Dietary Allowance for adults and can change a diet from below to above these reference intakes. Persons with more frequent legume intakes also ate more saturated fat. Perhaps adequate Cu protects people from dietary fat as it does animals. Diets low in Cu are suggested as an explanation for much of the epidemiology and pathophysiology of ischemic heart disease. Both heart disease and Cu deficiency are exacerbated by homocysteine, iron and salt and are mitigated by aspirin, beer and clofibrate. Cu supplements have improved the oxidative defenses of middle-aged people. Although the increase in Cu intake from legumes was considerably less than that given as pills, the lower dose may have been effective because of the longer duration of supplementation of a much larger population.