Relationships Between Element Contents in Polish Children’s and Adolescents’ Hair
Although evidence suggests that hair elements may reflect dietary habits and/or mineral intake, this topic remains controversial. This study therefore presents age-specific reference values for hair concentrations of Ca, Cu, Fe, Na, Mg, P and Zn using the LMS method of Cole, and investigates the relationship between dietary habits (i.e. food consumption frequencies) and hair mineral concentrations in 218 Belgian elementary school girls by reduced rank regression (RRR). Hair minerals were quantitatively determined via inductively coupled plasma–mass spectrometry after microwave-assisted acid digestion of 6-cm long vertex posterior hair samples. The Children’s Eating Habits Questionnaire—Food Frequency Questionnaire was used to obtain information on food consumption frequency of 43 food items in the month preceding hair collection. The established reference ranges were in line with data for other childhood or adolescent populations. The retained RRR factors explained 40, 50, 45, 46, 44 and 48 % of the variation of Ca, Cu, Fe, Mg, P and Zn concentrations in hair, respectively. Although this study demonstrated that a large proportion of hair mineral variation may be influenced by food consumption frequencies in elementary school girls, a number of food groups known to be rich sources of minerals did not show a relation with certain hair minerals. Future research should focus on mechanisms and processes involved in mineral incorporation and accumulation in scalp hair, in order to fully understand the importance and influence of diet on hair minerals.