Growing evidence indicates that metal exposure is associated with metabolic syndrome (MetS); however, mixed results have been reported. The aim of this study was to clarify associations of exposure to essential and non-essential metals with body composition and risks of obesity and MetS. Anthropometry and blood biochemistry of metabolic parameters were obtained from 150 middle-aged Taiwanese adults. Plasma metals were assessed using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry, and body compositions were measured by a bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA). The essential metals of copper (Cu), manganese (Mn), and chromium (Cr) were positively correlated with the body fat mass but inversely correlated with the skeletal muscle mass (all p < 0.05). An adjusted logistic regression showed that Mn [odds ratio (OR) = 1.624 (95% confidence interval 1.072, 2.462), p = 0.02] and, to a lesser extent, Cu [OR = 1.501 (0.985, 2.292), p = 0.059] predicted abdominal obesity, while plasma Cu [OR = 2.211 (1.146, 4.266), p = 0.02] and zinc (Zn) [OR = 2.228 (1.048, 4.736) p = 0.04] predicted MetS. Significant correlations between dyslipidemia and lithium [OR = 1.716 (1.080, 2.726)], Cu [OR = 2.210 (1.415, 3.454)], Mn [OR = 2.200 (1.320, 3.666)], molybdenum [OR = 1.853 (1.160, 2.958)], and Zn [OR = 1.993 (1.186, 3.349)], and between boron [OR = 2.583 (1.137, 5.868)] and hyperglycemia were observed (all p < 0.05). Exposure to essential metals may affect the body composition and metabolic profiles, exacerbating the risk of MetS.
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