Low serum selenium is associated with anemia among older adults in the United States

R. D. Semba, M. O. Ricks, L. Ferrucci, Q. L. Xue, J. M. Guralnik, L. P. Fried

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Objective: We hypothesized that low serum selenium was associated with anemia in humans.Subjects:A total of 2092 adults aged 65 and older, in the third National Nutrition Examination Survey, Phase 2 (1991-1994) (NHANES III). Methods: Examination of the relationship between serum selenium and hematological indices in NHANES III. Results: Anemia, defined by World Health Organization criteria, was present in 12.9%. Mean serum selenium among non-anemic and anemic adults was 1.60 and 1.51 μmol l-1 (P = 0.0003). The prevalence of anemia among adults in the lowest to highest quartiles of serum selenium was 18.3, 9.5, 9.7 and 6.9%, respectively (P = 0.0005). The proportion of adults in the lowest quartile of selenium among those who were non-anemic or who had anemia due to nutritional causes, chronic inflammation, renal disease or unexplained anemia was 9.9, 27.5, 17.5, 24.0 and 15.4%, respectively. An increase in loge selenium was associated with a reduced risk of anemia (odds ratio per one standard deviation increase 0.75, 95% confidence interval 0.58-0.97, P = 0.03), adjusting for age, race, education, body mass index and chronic diseases. Conclusion: Low serum selenium is independently associated with anemia among older men and women in the United States.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-99
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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