Randomised controlled trial of the effect of long-term selenium supplementation on plasma cholesterol in an elderly Danish population

Frederik Cold, Kristian H. Winther, Roberto Pastor-Barriuso, Margaret P. Rayman, Eliseo Guallar, Mads Nybo, Bruce A. Griffin, Saverio Stranges, Soren Cold

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24 Scopus citations


Although cross-sectional studies have shown a positive association between Se and cholesterol concentrations, a recent randomised controlled trial in 501 elderly UK individuals of relatively low-Se status found that Se supplementation for 6 months lowered total plasma cholesterol. The Danish PRECISE (PREvention of Cancer by Intervention with Selenium) pilot study (ClinicalTrials.gov ID: NCT01819649) was a 5-year randomised, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial with four groups (allocation ratio 1:1:1:1). Men and women aged 60-74 years (n 491) were randomised to 100 (n 124), 200 (n 122) or 300 (n 119) μg Se-enriched yeast or matching placebo-yeast tablets (n 126) daily for 5 years. A total of 468 participants continued the study for 6 months and 361 participants, equally distributed across treatment groups, continued for 5 years. Plasma samples were analysed for total and HDL-cholesterol and for total Se concentrations at baseline, 6 months and 5 years. The effect of different doses of Se supplementation on plasma lipid and Se concentrations was estimated by using linear mixed models. Plasma Se concentration increased significantly and dose-dependently in the intervention groups after 6 months and 5 years. Total cholesterol decreased significantly both in the intervention groups and in the placebo group after 6 months and 5 years, with small and nonsignificant differences in changes in plasma concentration of total cholesterol, HDL-cholesterol, non-HDL-cholesterol and total:HDL-cholesterol ratio between intervention and placebo groups. The effect of long-term supplementation with Se on plasma cholesterol concentrations or its sub-fractions did not differ significantly from placebo in this elderly population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1807-1818
Number of pages12
JournalBritish Journal of Nutrition
Issue number11
StatePublished - Sep 22 2015


  • CVD
  • Cholesterol
  • Lipids
  • Randomised controlled trials
  • Selenium
  • Selenium supplementation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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