Selenium and Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic syndrome – according to the American Heart Association, metabolic syndrome is a medical condition that can lead to heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and other health problems. The diagnosis of metabolic syndrome is met whenever a patient has three or more of the following five risk factors [What 2023]:

  • Ambulance
    The risk of metabolic syndrome increases with increasing age, with being overweight or obese, and with increased insulin resistance.

    High blood pressure

  • High blood sugar
  • High blood levels of triglycerides
  • Low blood levels of HDL cholesterol
  • Large waist circumference

In particular, metabolic syndrome puts the patient at increased risk of developing atherosclerosis, the condition in which the build-up of fatty deposits on the inner walls of arteries impedes blood flow and eventually restricts the flow of blood to the heart [What 2023].

Danciu et al have observed that oxidative stress plays a fundamental role in the development and progression of metabolic syndrome. Patients diagnosed with metabolic syndrome are likely to have unusually high levels of harmful free radicals and diminished antioxidant defenses. Furthermore, oxidative stress is often associated with chronic low-grade inflammation [Danciu 2023, Sep].

Selenium in the Management of Oxidative Stress

To assess the effectiveness of diet therapy and selenium supplementation on the management of oxidative stress, Danciu et al enrolled 206 patients in a three-winged study. There were 114 women and 92 men. The average age of the patients was 43 years [Danciu 2023, Nov-Dec].

  • the control group (n=35)
  • the diet therapy group (n=119)
  • the diet therapy group supplemented with selenium (n=52)

The diet therapy used in the study was based on the Mediterranean diet. It aimed to restrict the intake of foods high in salt, fat, and sugar and to emphasize the consumption of vegetables, fruits, and fish rather than fatty meat [Danciu 2023, Sep].

The authors describe the selenium preparation as a “standardized selenium
supplement of 200 mcg, sourced from the EU.” The supplementation lasted
for 30 days [Danciu 2023, Sep].

Outcomes in the Diet Therapy Plus Selenium Study Group

The diet therapy plus selenium group achieved significantly better health-related outcomes than did the diet therapy group alone:

  • better BMI evolution
  • better sarcopenia index improvement
  • better decrease in fat mass and visceral fat
  • better decrease in C-reactive protein (an inflammation bio-marker)
  • better decrease in fibrinogen levels
  • better decrease in glycosylated hemoglobin

The authors reported that adding selenium supplementation to the diet therapy had made possible reductions in adipose tissue and in glycosylated haemoglobin levels. This contributed to the reduction of oxidative stress in the body [Danciu 2023, Sep].

Similarity to the KiSel-10 Study Outcomes

The outcomes of the Danciu study should not surprise us. In the KiSel-10 study, Professor Urban Alehagen and his colleagues administered a combination of Coenzyme Q10 and selenium to elderly citizens who had low blood levels of both. The combined supplementation was associated with significantly reduced serum levels of bio-markers of oxidative stress and chronic systemic inflammation [Alehagen 2015a; Alehagen 2015b ].

Conclusion: Selenium and and Metabolic Syndrome

Aging plays an important role in triggering and aggravating oxidative stress and chronic inflammation. Selenium supplementation, especially in selenium-poor regions of the world, can slow down this process.


Alehagen U, Aaseth J, Johansson P. Less increase of copeptin and MRproADM due to intervention with selenium and coenzyme Q10 combined: Results from a 4-year prospective randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial among elderly Swedish citizens. Biofactors. 2015a;41:443-52.

Alehagen U, Lindahl TL, Aaseth J, Svensson E. Levels of sP-selectin and hs-CRP decrease with dietary intervention with selenium and Coenzyme Q10 combined: a secondary analysis of a randomized clinical trial. PLoS One. 2015b;10:e0137680.

Danciu AM, Ghitea TC, Bungau AF, Vesa CM. The Relationship between oxidative stress, selenium, and cumulative risk in metabolic syndrome. In Vivo. 2023 Nov-Dec;37(6):2877-2887.

Danciu AM, Ghitea TC, Bungau AF, Vesa CM. The crucial role of diet therapy and selenium on the evolution of clinical and paraclinical parameters in patients with metabolic syndrome. J Nutr Metab. 2023 Sep 25;2023:6632197.

What is Metabolic Syndrome? American Heart Association. 2023.

The information presented in this review article is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used as such.

30 April 2024

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