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Ann Nutr Metab. 2006;50(2):126-31. Epub 2006 Jan 3.

Food intake and serum selenium concentration in elderly people.

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Departamento de Biología Funcional, Area de Fisiología, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Oviedo, Asturias, Spain.



It is becoming apparent that the essential trace element selenium plays a critical role in the maintenance of optimal health status. The objective of this study was to identify the food groups that most contributed to selenium intake and its serum levels in elderly people.


Dietary intake was assessed in 205 institutionalized elderly by means of a 1-year food frequency questionnaire (FFQ). Intake of macronutrients and minerals of the diet were estimated. Selenium was determined in serum and analyzed by graphite-furnace atomic absorption spectrometry.


Selenium intake and serum concentration were both within the normal range. The major contributors to selenium intake were cereals and bakery, fish and shellfish, meat and meat products and dairy products. All of them except cereals were also associated to serum selenium. Intake of animal protein, but not the vegetable one, contributed to serum selenium.


An adequate intake of fish and meat would be of importance to improve selenium status and health principally in elderly people who are at high risk of mineral deficiency.

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