Food and Behaviour Research

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Optimal Serum Selenium Concentrations Are Associated with Lower Depressive Symptoms and Negative Mood among Young Adults.

Conner TS, Richardson AC, Miller JC (2015) J Nutr.  2015 Jan 145(1) 59-65 doi: 10.3945/jn.114.198010. Epub 2014 Nov 5.

Web URL: Read more and find related research on the PubMed website here


There is evidence that low, and possibly high, selenium status is associated with depressed mood. More evidence is needed to determine whether this pattern occurs in young adults with a wide range of serum concentrations of selenium.


The aim of this study was to determine if serum selenium concentration is associated with depressive symptoms and daily mood states in young adults.


A total of 978 young adults (aged 17-25 y) completed the Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression scale and reported theirnegative and positive mood daily for 13 d using an Internet diary. Serum selenium concentration was determined by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. ANCOVA and regression models tested the linear and curvilinear associations between decile of serum selenium concentration andmood outcomes, controlling for age, gender, ethnicity, BMI, and weekly alcohol intake. Smoking and childhood socioeconomic status were further controlled in a subset of participants.


The mean ± SD serum selenium concentration was 82 ± 18 μg/L and ranged from 49 to 450 μg/L. Participants with the lowest serumselenium concentration (62 ± 4 μg/L; decile 1) and, to a lesser extent, those with the highest serum selenium concentration (110 ± 38 μg/L; decile 10) had significantly greater adjusted depressive symptoms than did participants with midrange serum selenium concentrations (82 ± 1 to 85 ± 1 μg/L; deciles 6 and 7). Depressive symptomatology was lowest at a selenium concentration of ∼85 μg/L. Patterns for negative mood were similar but more U-shaped. Positive mood showed an inverse U-shaped association with selenium, but this pattern was less consistent than depressive symptoms ornegative mood.


In young adults, an optimal range of serum selenium between ∼82 and 85 μg/L was associated with reduced risk of depressivesymptomatology. This range approximates the values at which glutathione peroxidase is maximal, suggesting that future research should investigate antioxidant pathways linking selenium to mood