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Selenium Has Modest Benefits for Plasma Lipid Levels

Last Updated: May 20, 2011.

Selenium supplementation appears to modestly benefit plasma lipid levels among individuals with relatively low selenium status, according to a study published in the May 17 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

FRIDAY, May 20 (HealthDay News) -- Selenium supplementation appears to modestly benefit plasma lipid levels among individuals with relatively low selenium status, according to a study published in the May 17 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Margaret P. Rayman, D.Phil., of the University of Surrey in Guildford, U.K., and colleagues randomized 501 individuals aged 60 to 74 years to receive selenium, 100 mcg/d (127 subjects), 200 mcg/d (127), or 300 mcg/d (126), as high-selenium yeast, or a yeast-based placebo (121) for six months.

The investigators found that selenium supplementation had modestly beneficial effects on plasma lipid levels among individuals with relatively low selenium status. They found that the adjusted difference in change in total cholesterol levels for selenium compared with placebo was −0.22 mmol/L (−8.5 mg/dL; P = 0.02) for 100 mcg of selenium per day, −0.25 mmol/L (−9.7 mg/dL; P = 0.008) for 200 mcg of selenium per day, and −0.07 mmol/L (−2.7 mg/dL; P = 0.46) for 300 mcg of selenium per day. In addition, similar reductions were found for non-high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels. Although the investigators found no apparent difference in change in HDL cholesterol levels with 100 and 200 mcg selenium per day, the difference was an adjusted 0.06 mmol/L (2.3 mg/dL; P = 0.045) with 300 mcg of selenium per day.

"The clinical significance of the findings is unclear and should not be used to justify the use of selenium supplementation as additional or alternative therapy for dyslipidemia. This is particularly true for persons with higher selenium status, given the limitations of the trial and the potential additional risk in other metabolic dimensions," the authors write.

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