The human selenium status in Hungary

J Trace Elem Electrolytes Health Dis. 1992 Dec;6(4):233-8.


The selenium concentration of foods and of human blood varies widely between geographical areas depending on the availability of soil Se for plants. The mean serum Se concentration in Europe has been found to vary between 0.80-1.50 mumol/l and the mean Se concentration of wheat between 0.02-0.11 mg/kg. We estimated by various markers the Se status of Hungarians on whom data is lacking. Serum samples (n = 238) from healthy blood donors, and toenails (n = 132) and fingernails (n = 211) from different apparently healthy individuals residing in both urban and rural areas were collected from four districts in Hungary. Wheat samples (n = 29) as grains were obtained directly from farms representing the same areas. Serum Se was determined by electrothermal AAS and the other samples by acid-digestion fluorimetry. The accuracy of the methods was verified by analyzing external reference samples. The mean (+/- SD) serum Se concentration was 0.70 +/- 0.12 mumol/l, ranging between 0.41-1.18 mumol/l. The mean serum Se levels 0.87 mumol/l was significantly (p < 0.001) higher in the East and lower in the South (0.60 mumol/l) compared to the northern area 0.70 mumol/l. The mean (+/- SD) toenail Se concentration was 0.56 +/- 0.18 mg/kg. The Se level in the East was significantly (p < 0.01) higher than the level in the North, 0.68 mg/kg vs. 0.54 mg/kg, respectively, and lowest in the southern area, 0.40 mg/kg. The same pattern applied to fingernails. Wheat Se ranged from 5 to 235 micrograms/kg, with the median 34 micrograms/kg. The lowest Se concentrations were generally found in the South.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Food Analysis
  • Humans
  • Hungary
  • Male
  • Nails / chemistry*
  • Selenium / analysis*
  • Selenium / blood
  • Triticum / chemistry


  • Selenium