Concentrations of retinol, α-tocopherol, copper, zinc and iron in plasma of young subjects differing in their engagement in motor activities
Study aim: To assess possible effects of gender and of the level of motor activity on the deficiencies of selected vitamins and minerals in young subjects.
Material and methods: Four groups of physical education (PE) students (n = 15 each) were studied: sedentary men (SM) and women (SF), and physically active men (AM) and women (AF) engaged in endurance sports, all aged 18 - 24 years, were studied. Somatic measurements included body height and mass, and body fat content (by Durnin's method, from 4 skinfolds), the biochemical ones included concentrations of retinol, α-tocopherol, copper, zinc and iron in plasma.
Results: Men had significantly higher retinol (p<0.05) and iron (p<0.01) levels than women. The AM and SF groups had significantly (p<0.05 - 0.01) higher plasma levels of copper and zinc than Group SM. Group AF had lower zinc levels than Groups AM and SF, that latter group having lower α-tocopherol compared with Group SM.
Conclusions: Inasmuch the observed differences could be due to the respective intakes, the effect of motor activity and the associated increased elimination of minerals could not be ruled out.