Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Selenium supplements linked with increased risk for diabetes in 8-year study

11.07.2007
A new analysis of data from a large national study found that people who took a 200 microgram selenium supplement each day for almost eight years had an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes than those who took a placebo or dummy pill.

The data came from the Nutritional Prevention of Cancer Trial (NPC), a large randomized, multi-center, clinical trial from the eastern United States, designed to evaluate whether selenium supplements prevent skin cancer. In the study being published, researchers selected 1,202 participants who did not have diabetes when they were enrolled in the NPC Trial. Half received a 200 microgram selenium supplement and half received a placebo pill for an average of 7.7 years.

Saverio Stranges, MD, PhD, lead author of the study, says that the findings from this study suggest that selenium supplements do not prevent diabetes and that they might be harmful. “At this time, the evidence that people should take selenium supplements is extremely limited. We have observed an increased risk for diabetes over the long term in the group of participants who took selenium supplements.”

Dr. Stranges is currently working at Warwick Medical School, UK, but previously worked at the State University of New York at Buffalo. Other authors of the article include Mary E. Reid, PhD, and James R. Marshall, PhD, researchers at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo.

Selenium is a naturally occurring trace mineral present in soil and foods. The body need selenium in minute amounts to aid in metabolism. Selenium supplements are widely promoted on the Internet for conditions ranging from cold sores and shingles to arthritis and multiple sclerosis. They are sold to prevent aging, enhance fertility, prevent cancer and get rid of toxic minerals such as mercury, lead and cadmium.

Selenium supplements have shown some promise in preventing prostate cancer. Because of selenium’s antioxidant activities, some scientists feel it might be effective against diabetes.

In the current study, 58 out of 600 participants in the selenium group and 39 out of 602 participants in the placebo group developed type 2 diabetes. After 7.7 years of follow-up, the relative risk rate was approximately 50 percent higher among those randomly selected for the selenium group than among those randomly placed in the placebo group.

The results consistently showed higher risks of disease among participants receiving selenium across subgroups of baseline age, gender, and smoking status. However, the selenium supplements had no impact on the most overweight participants. The risk of developing diabetes tended to be higher in people who had higher blood selenium levels at the start of the study.

Dr. Stranges said, “No single study can provide the answer to a scientific question, but at this time, selenium supplementation does not appear to prevent type 2 diabetes, and it may increase risk of the disease. However, our understanding of the mechanisms whereby selenium would increase risk of diabetes is very limited at this time and this issue needs to be further explored. Nevertheless, I would not advise patients to take selenium supplements greater than those in multiple vitamins.”

About 60 percent of Americans take multivitamin pills, many of which contain between 33 and 200 micrograms of selenium, in addition to the selenium taken in from food and the air. The RDA (recommended dietary allowance) for selenium varies by age. For people aged 14 and over, 55 micrograms per day is recommended for the body to function normally.

Dr. Stranges said that selenium levels in soil in United States are higher than the minimum needed to optimize metabolism, so people in the United States should not need to take selenium supplements greater than those in multivitamin supplements.

In an accompanying editorial, Eliseo Guallar, MD, DrPH, from Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, says the article is “more bad news for supplements.” He says that the NPC trial is the largest and longest experimental study available comparing selenium supplements to placebo, that selenium has a narrow therapeutic range and that at high levels, it can be toxic.

“What the U.S. public needs to know,” Dr. Guallar says, “is that most people in the United States have adequate selenium in their diet. Moreover, taking selenium supplements on top of an adequate dietary intake may cause diabetes.”

Stephen Majewski | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.acponline.org
http://www.annals.org

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht New study from the University of Halle: How climate change alters plant growth
12.01.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

nachricht Disarray in the brain
18.12.2017 | Universität zu Lübeck

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Optical Nanoscope Allows Imaging of Quantum Dots

Physicists have developed a technique based on optical microscopy that can be used to create images of atoms on the nanoscale. In particular, the new method allows the imaging of quantum dots in a semiconductor chip. Together with colleagues from the University of Bochum, scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute reported the findings in the journal Nature Photonics.

Microscopes allow us to see structures that are otherwise invisible to the human eye. However, conventional optical microscopes cannot be used to image...

Im Focus: Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.

We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rutgers scientists discover 'Legos of life'

23.01.2018 | Life Sciences

Seabed mining could destroy ecosystems

23.01.2018 | Earth Sciences

Transportable laser

23.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>