Submitted to: Nutrition Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/13/1995
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Selenium is an essential nutrient and, in order to determine a person's selenium intake, it is important to know how much selenium is found in common foods. For other nutrients, the amount in a food is commonly calculated from tables or databases giving average values. We have recently completed a selenium study in which a number of foods purchased in Grand Forks, North Dakota, were analyzed for selenium concentrations. There was much variation between different brands of the same product (as much as 10 fold for some products). Also, there was much variation between a product purchased in North Dakota and the same product purchased elsewhere. Selenium concentrations in foods generally reflect the amount of selenium in the soil where they are grown, and this is probably an explanation for the observed variation. We have concluded that selenium content in food is too variable to construct a reliable table or database.
Technical Abstract: Selenium concentration in food is highly variable and reflects the Se concentration and availability of the soil in the geographical region in which the food was produced. Some areas of the United States have very low soil Se, whereas others, such as the Dakota's, have relatively high concentrations of soil Se. In the present study, Se values were determined for a number of foods and dietary ingredients purchased in North Dakota. Most foods tended to be quite high in Se, but many, especially corn products, were highly variable. Selenium in beef from North Dakota was much higher than in beef from low Se areas of the country. These results show that average reported values for Se in foodstuffs are unreliable and if an accurate determination of Se intake is needed, Se concentration should be determined for foods consumed.