Selenium and cardiovascular disease

Biol Trace Elem Res. 1990 Feb;24(2):91-103. doi: 10.1007/BF02917198.


For humans, ecological and epidemiological results are reported that show a relationship between the serum selenium concentration and cardiovascular disease in populations where low serum selenium concentrations are found, e.g., in Eastern Finland. From clinical studies done in Germany (FRG and GDR), Finland, and Sweden, subnormal serum selenium and partially whole blood selenium concentrations are reported in patients with acute myocardial infarction. For patients with coronary arteriosclerosis, subnormal serum selenium concentrations are reported from the USA and Germany and subnormal whole blood selenium concentrations from Germany. Subnormal serum and subnormal whole blood selenium concentrations of patients with cardiomyopathy are reported from non Keshan disease affected areas in Germany, France, and China. In selenium deficiency, an accumulation of lipid peroxides in the heart may occur, especially under ischemic conditions and if ischemic tissue is reperfused. Lipid peroxides in the heart may damage the cell membrane and may lead to an impaired calcium transport with an uncontrolled calcium accumulation in the cell. This may result in an activation of phospholipids, and, in consequence, to an enhanced formation of arachidonic acid. An increased concentration of lipid peroxides owing to selenium deficiency may shift the prostaglandin synthesis from prostacyclin to thromboxane, causing enhanced blood pressure and platelet aggregability. From animal experiments, it is known that selenium protects against cardiotoxic elements, cardiotoxic xenobiotics, and viral infections that affect the heart. Selenium deficiency may also be a secondary factor in the causation of hypertension and myocardial ischemia.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Nutritional Requirements
  • Selenium / blood
  • Selenium / deficiency*
  • United States / epidemiology


  • Selenium