Nail Selenium Level and Diabetes in Older People in Rural China

Li Qin SU, Yin Long JIN, Frederick Unverzagt, Yi Bin CHENG, Ann Hake, Liao RAN, Feng MA, Jing Yi LIU, Chen CHEN, Jian Chao BIAN, Xian Ping WU, Sujuan Gao

Research output: Contribution to journalLetter

7 Scopus citations


This cross-sectional study aimed to examine the association between selenium levels and diabetes in an older population with life-long natural exposure to selenium in rural China. A total of 1856 subjects aged 65 years or older from four Chinese rural counties with different environmental selenium levels were evaluated. Analysis of covariance models and logistic regression models were used to examine the relationship between nail selenium levels and serum glucose, serum insulin, insulin resistance [using the Homeostatic Model Assessment for Insulin Resistance (HOMA-IR)], and the risk of diabetes. The mean nail selenium level was 0.461 μg/g and the prevalence rate of diabetes was 8.3% in this population. The mean nail selenium level was significantly higher in the group with diabetes than in the group without diabetes (P<0.0001). The adjusted odds ratios for diabetes were 2.65 (95% CI: 1.48 to 4.73), 2.47 (95% CI: 1.37 to 4.45), and 3.30 (95% CI: 1.85 to 5.88) from the second selenium quartile to the fourth quartile, respectively, compared with the first quartile group. The mean serum glucose and HOMA-IR in the higher selenium quartile groups were significantly higher than those of the lowest quartile group. However, no significant differences in insulin were observed among the four quartile groups. A long-term, higher level of exposure to selenium may be associated with a higher risk of diabetes. Future studies are needed to elucidate the association between selenium and insulin resistance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)818-824
Number of pages7
JournalBiomedical and Environmental Sciences
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Nail Selenium Level and Diabetes in Older People in Rural China'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this

    SU, L. Q., JIN, Y. L., Unverzagt, F., CHENG, Y. B., Hake, A., RAN, L., MA, F., LIU, J. Y., CHEN, C., BIAN, J. C., WU, X. P., & Gao, S. (2016). Nail Selenium Level and Diabetes in Older People in Rural China. Biomedical and Environmental Sciences, 29(11), 818-824.