Longitudinal association between selenium levels and hypertension in a rural elderly Chinese cohort

L. Su, Y. Jin, F. W. Unverzagt, C. Liang, Y. Cheng, A. M. Hake, D. Kuruppu, F. Ma, J. Liu, C. Chen, J. Bian, P. Li, Sujuan Gao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Scopus citations


Objectives: Results from previous studies have been inconsistent on the association between selenium and hypertension, and very few studies on this subject have focused on the elderly population. The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between selenium level and hypertension in a rural elderly Chinese cohort. Design: A longitudinal study was implemented and data were analyzed using logistic regression models and Cox proportional hazards regression model adjusting for potential confounders. The associations between selenium level and prevalent hypertension at baseline and between selenium and incident hypertension were examined. Setting: Community-based setting in four rural areas in China. Subjects: A total of 2000 elderly aged 65 years and over (mean 71.9±5.6 years) participated in this study. Measurements: Nail selenium levels were measured in all subjects at baseline. Blood pressure measures and self-reported hypertension history were collected at baseline, 2.5 years and 7 years later. Hypertension was defined as systolic blood pressure 140 mmHg or higher, diastolic blood pressure 90 mmHg or higher, or reported use of anti-hypertensive medication. Results: The rate of baseline hypertension was 63.50% in this cohort and the mean nail selenium level is 0.413±0.183µg/g. Multi-covariate adjusted cross-sectional analyses indicated that higher selenium level was associated with higher blood pressure measures at baseline and higher rates of hypertension. For the 635 participants with normal blood pressure at baseline, 360 had developed hypertension during follow-up. The incidence rate for hypertension was 45.83%, 52.27%, 62.50%, 70.48%, and 62.79% from the first selenium quintile to the fifth quintile respectively. Comparing to the lowest quintile group, the hazard ratios were 1.41 (95%CI: 1.03 to1.94), 1.93 (95%CI: 1.40 to 2.67), 2.35 (95%CI: 1.69 to 3.26) and 1.94 (95%CI: 1.36 to 22.77) for the second selenium quintile to the fifth quintile respectively. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that high selenium may play a harmful role in the development of hypertension. Future studies are needed to confirm our findings and to elucidate a plausible biological mechanism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)983-988
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Nutrition, Health and Aging
Issue number10
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016


  • Selenium
  • blood pressure
  • elderly population
  • environmental exposure
  • hypertension

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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