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Forschung • Selenium status of women with different vegetarian and non-vegetarian dietary regimens

Heuer T1 , Hoffmann I1, 2, Koebnick C3, Strassner C1, Groeneveld MJ1, Leitzmann C1

1Institute of Nutritional Science, Giessen University, Wilhelmstrasse 20, D-35392 Giessen, Germany;
 2Federal Research Centre for Nutrition, Karlsruhe, Germany;
 3German Institute of Human Nutrition, Bergholz-Rehbrücke, Germany.

Poster auf dem Fourth International Congress on Vegetarian Nutrition, Loma Linda, California, USA, 2002

Background:

Foods of animal origin are good selenium sources. As individuals with plant-centered diets are discussed to be at risk for low selenium supply, especially in low selenium areas, the selenium status of diet groups with different proportions of foods of animal origin were investigated.

Material and Methods:

Based on cross-sectional data, the whole blood selenium levels of healthy women aged 25 to 65 years with different dietary regimens were investigated:

  • average Western diet (n = 173)
  • raw food diet (n = 81)
  • plant-centered diet following preventive recommendations: ovo-lacto vegetarians (n = 110) and low-meat eaters (n = 128).

A general linear model was performed, controlling for age, physical activity, alcohol consumption, oral contraceptives, selenium supplements, lead and cadmium blood levels.

Results:

Women with marginal (< 69 µg/L), adequate and good (>= 100 µg/L) selenium supply are found in all diet groups. As a good selenium supply is attained by a very diverging food selection, no specific consumption could be shown to be prerequisite for it. All diet groups present adequate average whole blood selenium concentrations. However, the ovo-lacto vegetarians and the raw food dieters have significantly lower selenium concentrations than women on an average Western diet and low-meat eaters (adjusted geometric means: 76.7, 77.2, 86.9, 82.6 µg/L), whereas no significant differences between low-meat eaters and women on an average Western diet are found. Raw food dieters (OR: 5.3; 95 %-CI 2.6 - 11.0) and ovo-lacto vegetarians (OR: 4.3; 95 %-CI 2.3 - 8.1) are more at risk for marginal selenium levels than women on an average Western diet.

Conclusions:

Vegetarians can attain an adequate or even good selenium supply, even in a low selenium area. However, vegetarians are more at risk for a marginal selenium supply than groups with small or average amounts of meat in their diet.

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