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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Developing Sustainable Cropping Systems to Improve Water Productivity and Protect Water and Soil Quality in Irrigated Agriculture

Location: Water Management Research

Title: Daily dietary selenium intake and hair selenium content in a high selenium area of Enshi, China

item Huang, Y
item Wang, Q
item Gao, J
item Lin, Z
item Banuelos, Gary
item Yuan, L
item Yin, X

Submitted to: Nutrients
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/26/2013
Publication Date: 5/15/2013
Citation: Huang, Y., Wang, Q., Gao, J., Lin, Z.Q., Banuelos, G.S., Yuan, L., Yin, X.B. 2013. Daily dietary selenium intake and hair selenium content in a high selenium area of Enshi, China. Nutrients. 5(3):700-710 DOI:10.3390/NU5030700.

Interpretive Summary: Selenium (Se) is an essential trace element for animal and human health, however, it can also be toxic to organisms, depending on its chemical species and concentration. Chronic exposure to high levels of Se could result in hair loss, weak nails, lack of mental alertness, and excessive tooth decay and discoloration. The estimated safe and adequate daily Se dietary intake for adults is estimated to be between 50 to 200 µg/day. In Enshi China, the daily Se intake can be as high as 3000 µg/day, and people in this region experience daily extreme human selenosis, i.e., loss of hair, and nails. In this study, the commonly-consumed foods by Enshi residents were collected in order to estimate the Se daily intake. In addition, hair samples were collected from the inhabitants of Shade (Enschi city) and analyzed for Se. Results show that the Se content was significanly higher in female hair than in male hair. We concluded that females were exposed to higher amounts of volatile Se from the daily cooking, with Se-rich coal especially on and with older kitchen appliances.

Technical Abstract: Selenium is essential to humans and is widely distributed within the human body. Its content in blood, urine, hair and nails are important indicators to evaluate Se level in the human body. In China (Shadi, Enschi city), human selenosis of residents is reported to occur in high numbers. In this study, concentrations of Se in typically consumed foods by these inhabitants was determined on a daily basis. In addition, hair samples were collected from over 244 people (both men and women) and analyzed for Se content. Based on the food concentrations and the dialy per capita consumption, the estimated mean daily Se intake was 549 µg Se compared to a mean daily value of 60 µg Se. Selenium concentraions in the hair were 2.21 ± 1.14 mg/kg (n=122) and 3.13 ± 1.91 mg/kg for male and female, respectively. The average Se content in female hair was 42% greater than that of male. We concluded that women were exposed to greater levels of volatile Se via cooking with Se-rich coal and having inadequate ventilation with older kitchen appliances.

Last Modified: 10/17/2017
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