Selenium supplementation does not improve vascular responsiveness in healthy North American men

Wayne Chris Hawkes, Lawrence J. Laslett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Selenium is an essential trace nutrient required for the synthesis of selenoproteins such as glutathione peroxidase and thioredoxin reductase, the major forms of selenium in the endothelium that have important functions relevant to inflammation and cardiovascular disease. Selenium deficiency is associated with cardiomyopathy and sudden cardiac death in animals, and a low selenium status is associated with cardiovascular disease in humans. Endothelial dysfunction, measured as the impaired flow-mediated vasorelaxation of the brachial artery, is a reliable indicator of future cardiovascular disease risk in healthy individuals. To test whether selenium supplementation affects endothelial function, we conducted a randomized, placebo- controlled trial in healthy men who were administered 300 μg of selenium a day as high-selenium yeast for 48 wk. Brachial artery responsiveness to transient occlusion was assessed at baseline and after 24 and 48 wk of supplementation. The supplementation increased the selenium concentration by more than half in blood plasma and erythrocytes. However, there was no effect of selenium on arterial diameter or blood flow rate before or after transient occlusion or on the maximum dilated diameter after the administration of nitroglycerin. This study indicates that selenium supplementation is not likely to improve endothelial function or peripheral arterial responsiveness in healthy North American men receiving adequate selenium from their diets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2009


  • Brachial artery
  • Endothelium
  • Nutrition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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