seleniumResearchers at the University of Warwick Medical School, in Coventry, UK examined the association.

First, the details.

  • Blood levels of selenium were measured in 1042 adults.
  • Total and HDL (good) cholesterol were measured in nonfasting blood samples.

And, the results.

  • The average selenium concentration was 1.1 mumol/L.
  • Higher selenium levels (at least 1.2 mumol/L) were associated with increased total and non-HDL cholesterol levels but not with HDL cholesterol blood levels.

The bottom line?
So, higher blood levels of selenium are associated with higher levels of cholesterol and other lipids that can have unhealthy effects. But it has no effects on the beneficial HDL cholesterol.

The author concluded, “These findings raise additional concern about potential adverse cardio-metabolic effects of high selenium status.”

Selenium is considered a health ingredient because of its antioxidant properties and the perception (not universal as reported here) that it can reduce the risk of cancer.

Maybe, but is it worth the well documented unhealthy effects of high cholesterol, which include atherosclerosis — a narrowing and hardening of arteries — or angina, coronary heart disease, heart attack, and stroke?

11/19/09 20:39 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.