Low selenium and micronutrient intake associated with poor cardiovascular health

Two studies released in recent months show low selenium intake, as well as inadequate consumption of vitamin D and other micronutrients may play a role in heart health and mortality.

In the first study, researchers determined that serum Se levels influenced mortality among elderly Swedish study participants (published Eur J Clin Nutr, Jan 2016). The researchers suggest modest Se supplementation in order to improve the health of the Swedish population.

Six-hundred sixty-eight (n=668) participants were followed for 6.8 years and Se levels were re-evaluated in 98 individuals after 48 months. Clinical examination of all individuals included functional classification, echocardiography, electrocardiogram and serum Se measurement.

 Low Selenium Intake

The mean serum Se level corresponded to relatively low Se intake.

  • The mean serum Se concentration in an elderly Swedish population was 67.1 μg/l, which is below the physiological saturation level for several selenoprotein enzymes.
  • After adjustment for male gender, smoking, ischemic heart disease, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and impaired heart function, persons with serum Se in the lowest quartile had 43% (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.02-2.00) and 56% (95% CI: 1.03-2.36) increased risk for all-cause and cardiovascular mortality, respectively.
  • The result was not driven by inflammatory effects on Se concentration in serum.
Micronutrient Depletion

In this second related study, researchers evaluated dietary micronutrient consumption and micronutrient status in 79 patients with chronic stable heart failure. Based on self reported data and blood concentration samples, a significant number of patients exhibited vitamin D deficiency (published in J Cardiovasc Nurs March 2017). As many as 20% may not have been consuming enough  selenium, riboflavin, vitamin A, calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, copper, or iodine.

  • More than 20% of patients reported intakes less than the reference nutrient consumption or prescribed consumption for selenium, riboflavin, vitamin D, vitamin A, calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, copper and iodine.
  • As many as 5% of patients reported intakes less than the lower reference nutrient consumption or minimum suggested consumption for riboflavin, vitamin D, vitamin A, calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, selenium, and iodine.
  • Vitamin D deficiency (plasma total 25–hydroxy–vitamin D concentration <50 nmol/L) was reported in 75.6% of patients.

Click here for access to Swedish selenium study abstract, published in European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Click here for micronutrient study abstract access, published in Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing



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