High selenium levels associate with reduced risk of mortality and new-onset heart failure: data from PREVEND

Ali A. Al-Mubarak, Niels Grote Beverborg, Navin Suthahar, Ron T. Gansevoort, Stephan J.L. Bakker, Daan J. Touw, Rudolf A. de Boer, Peter van der Meer, Nils Bomer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: To elucidate the relationship between serum selenium levels and the risk of mortality and new-onset heart failure (HF) in the general adult population. Methods and results: Selenium was measured in a Dutch cohort and a retrospective analysis of prospectively assessed data was performed. Main outcome measures were all-cause mortality and incidence of new-onset HF separately, and combined as a composite endpoint. Serum selenium was measured in 5973 subjects and mean selenium concentration was 84.6 (±19.5) µg/L. Mean age was 53.6 (±12.1) years and 3103 subjects (52%) were female. Median follow-up was 8.4 years. Selenium levels associated positively with female sex, higher total cholesterol and glucose concentrations, and associated negatively with incidence of anaemia, iron deficiency, current smoking, increased C-reactive protein levels, and higher body mass index. Univariate analysis on all subjects showed no association of continuous selenium concentrations, per 10 µg/L increase, with the composite endpoint (hazard ratio [HR] 0.96, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.87–1.06, p = 0.407). However, significant interaction with smoking status was observed. In non-smoking subjects (n = 4288), continuous selenium concentrations were independently associated with reduced mortality risk (HR 0.87, 95% CI 0.79–0.96, p = 0.005), lower risk of new-onset HF (HR 0.82, 95% CI 0.69–0.96, p = 0.017), as well as reduced risk of the composite endpoint (HR 0.86, 95% CI 0.79–0.94, p = 0.001). In smoking subjects, no associations were found. Conclusion: Serum selenium was independently associated with multiple indicators of the metabolic syndrome. In addition, high selenium levels were independently associated with reduced mortality and new-onset HF in non-smokers. Well-powered interventional studies are necessary to evaluate the potential benefit of repleting selenium, especially in non-smoking subjects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)299-307
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Heart Failure
Issue number2
Early online dateJan 2022
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022
Externally publishedYes


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