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Background: In Europe, dietary selenium intake is low, and serum selenium is below the proposed optimum range (130 to 150 mcg/l) for all-cause mortality. Low serum selenium has been associated with low BMD and high bone turnover. The possible adverse effects of selenium excess are thyroid dysfunction and hyperglycaemia. Selenium status can be assessed by measurement of serum selenium.
Methods: We recruited 65 postmenopausal women (aged 55-83, mean=66) with DXA BMD T-score between -1.0 and -3.0 at the lumbar spine or hip. Screening bloods (calcium, creatinine, TSH, glucose and HbA1C) and baseline serum selenium (BSe) levels were measured by Sheffield Teaching Hospitals clinical laboratories.
Results: The distribution of BSe (mean=90.52mcgl/, SD=11.51) was consistent with the UK national NDNS data. BSe was inversely correlated with BMI (Pearson r=-0.342, p<0.005). There were no significant correlations between BSe and age, calcium, creatinine, TSH, glucose or HbA1C.
Discussion: The participants have serum selenium below the proposed optimum range. There was no evidence of an association of BSe with thyroid function or blood glucose, but patients were recruited on the basis of normal tests. We found a significant inverse correlation between BSe and BMI and this has not previously been reported; the mechanism for this association is not yet known.