Association between phthalate exposure and lower handgrip strength in an elderly population: a repeated-measures study

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Kim, Kyoung-Nam; Lee, Mee-Ri; Choi, Yoon-Hyeong; Hwang, Hyojung; Oh, Se-Young; Park, ChoongHee; Hong, Yun-Chul

Issue Date
BioMed Central
Environmental Health, 15(1):93
ElderlyHandgrip strengthOmega-6 to omega-3 ratioPhthalate
Decreased muscle strength can lead to adverse health outcomes in the elderly. A potential association between phthalate exposure and muscle strength was suggested previously, but has not been investigated directly. We hypothesized that phthalate exposure is associated with lower handgrip strength and that the association is modified by the dietary omega-6 to omega-3 ratio.

We analyzed 1,228 participants (≥60 years of age) recruited in Seoul and Asan, Republic of Korea. The study participants were surveyed up to three times between 2012 and 2015. At every survey, we collected urine samples and measured handgrip strength twice for each hand. The associations between urine phthalate metabolite concentrations and handgrip strength were evaluated using linear mixed models. Based on dietary information from 391 individuals who participated in the first survey in Seoul, we evaluated the heterogeneity of the association for those with high and low omega-6 to omega-3 ratios, using 8.81 (the 75th quantile) as a cutoff value.

Log-transformed creatinine-adjusted concentrations of mono-(2-ethyl-5-oxohexyl phthalate (MEOHP), mono-(2-ethyl-5-hydroxyhexyl) phthalate (MEHHP), and mono-n-butyl phthalate (MnBP) were inversely associated with all measured handgrip strengths (β = −0.69 to −0.42, all p-values < 0.05). Associations between phthalate biomarkers and handgrip strength did not differ by sex. When the dietary subgroup was stratified by the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio, the associations were stronger among participants with high ratios.

We found inverse associations between phthalate biomarkers and handgrip strength in the elderly; this association was modified by the dietary omega-6 to omega-3 ratio.
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