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October 2021

Analyst. 1998 May; 123(5): 885-7.

Plasma selenium concentrations in a Sikh population in Sydney, Australia.

Dhindsa HS, Bermingham MA, Mierzwa J, Sullivan D.

Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Sydney, Lidcombe, Australia.

Selenium is essential for humans because it protects the heart against cardiomyopathy. It may also reduce ischaemic heart disease owing to its antioxidant activity. It is known that Indian migrants in a number of countries have high incidences of ischaemic heart disease. In this study, fasting plasma selenium concentrations of Sikh migrants in Sydney (Australia) were measured to investigate whether selenium concentration is reduced in this community. The mean concentration of selenium in plasma (91.8 +/- 15.0 ng ml-1, n = 196) was within the normal range. A significantly higher plasma selenium concentration was demonstrated in males than in females (p < 0.01). This was mainly due to the difference in mean selenium concentrations between genders in vegetarians because no significant difference was observed in non-vegetarian males versus females. The mean concentration of selenium in teetotal males was similar to those who consumed alcohol. Despite significant variations with gender and diet, the selenium concentrations were within the normal range. The results suggest that selenium status is adequate in the Sikh community even though vegetarian diet is common and alcohol use is condones in males.

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