In a random sample of the Northern Ireland population aged 18-64 years, alcohol consumption was elicited by questionnaire and subjects were classified as regular drinkers (once a week or more often) or non-drinkers (including occasional drinkers). Iron status measurements were obtained from blood samples and body iron stores calculated. Three distinct groups of subjects with respect to iron stores were obtained on the basis of sex and menstrual status. Reported mean (SD) alcohol comsumption (units/week) of regular drinkers in the three groups were 24.4 (21.59) for men, 11.4 (9.48) for women aged 18-44 years and 9.1 (6.33) for women aged 45-64 years. Statistical testing using analysis of variance with age as a covariate showed that serum ferritin (P < 0.001), transferrin saturation (P < 0.05) and calculated body iron stores (P < 0.001) were significantly increased in men who were regular drinkers and hemoglobin (P < 0.001), serum ferritin (P < 0.001) and calculated body iron stores (P < 0.001) were significantly increased in postmenopausal women who were regular drinkers. There were no differences in body weight or body mass index between drinkers and non-drinkers. Although serum ferritin can be raised due to hepatic damage in heavy drinkers, it is probable that these results reflect increases in the iron status of the regular drinkers rather than the confounding of iron status measurements in the population by alcohol consumption.
|Journal||Trace Elements in Medicine|
|Publication status||Published - 1991|