Extreme Consumption of Beta vulgaris var. rubra Can Cause Metal Ion Accumulation in the Liver


Redox homeostasis can be considered as the cumulative action of all free radical reactions and antioxidant defences in different tissues, which provide suitable conditions for life. Transition metal ions are ubiquitous in biological systems. Beta vulgaris var. rubra (table beet root) contains several bioactive agents (e.g. betain, betanin, vulgaxanthine, polyphenols, folic acid) and different metal elements (e.g. Al, B, Ba, Ca, Cu, Fe, K, Mg, Mn, Na, Zn), which act on the various physiological routes. Therefore we studied the effect of this metal rich vegetable on element content of the liver in healthy rats. Male Wistar rats (n = 7) (200 ± 20 g) were treated with lyophilised powder of table beet root (2 g/kg b.w.) added into the rat chow for 10 days. Five healthy animals served as control. We found significant accumulation of Cu, Fe, Mg, Mn, Zn and P in the liver, which was proved by ICP-AES measurements. We suppose that the extreme consumption of table beet root can cause several disturbances not only in cases of healthy patients but, e.g. in patients suffering with metal accumulating diseases, e.g. porphyria cutanea tarda, haemochromatosis or Wilson disease-although moderate consumption may be beneficial in iron-deficiency anaemia and inflammatory bowel diseases.


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The study was supported by ETT 002/2003, NKFP 1B/047/2004 and NKFP 1A/005/2004 projects. The authors wish to thank Edina Pintér and Sarolta Bárkovits for their excellent technical assistance.

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Correspondence to Anna Blázovics.

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Presented at the International Symposium on Trace Elements in the Food Chain, Budapest, May 25–27, 2006.

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Blázovics, A., Sárdi, É., Szentmihályi, K. et al. Extreme Consumption of Beta vulgaris var. rubra Can Cause Metal Ion Accumulation in the Liver. BIOLOGIA FUTURA 58, 281–286 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1556/ABiol.58.2007.3.4

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  • Beta vulgaris var. rubra
  • element accumulation
  • redox homeostasis