Serum selenium is low in newly diagnosed Graves' disease: a population-based study

Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2013 Oct;79(4):584-90. doi: 10.1111/cen.12185. Epub 2013 Mar 27.


Context: Selenium deficiency may play an important role in the initiation and progression of autoimmune thyroid disease.

Objective: To compare serum selenium (s-Se) values in patients with newly diagnosed autoimmune thyroid disease and controls from the Danish population.

Design and settings: S-Se was measured in triplicate by a fluorimetric method.

Participants: Patients with newly diagnosed Graves' disease (GD) (n = 97) or autoimmune overt hypothyroidism (AIH) (n = 96), euthyroid subjects with high serum levels of thyroid peroxidase antibody (TPO-Ab) (TPO-Ab > 1500 U/ml, n = 92) and random controls (n = 830).

Main outcome measure: Differences in s-Se values.

Results: S-Se was lower in patients with GD than in controls (mean (SD), GD: 89·9 μg/l (18·4); controls: 98·8 μg/l (19·7), P < 0·01). This was confirmed in a multivariate logistic regression model adjusting for age, sex, mineral supplements, smoking, geographical region and time of sampling (P < 0·01). In a linear model, s-Se was similar in patients with AIH (mean (SD): 98·4 μg/l (24·9)) and in controls (P = 0·86). In the multivariate model however, s-Se was marginally lower in patients with AIH compared to controls (P = 0·04). There was no significant difference in s-Se between euthyroid participants with high TPO-Ab and random controls (linear: P = 0·97; multivariate: P = 0·27).

Conclusion: Patients with newly diagnosed GD and AIH had significantly lower s-Se compared with random controls. Our observation supports the postulated link between inadequate selenium supply and overt autoimmune thyroid disease, especially GD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Denmark
  • Female
  • Graves Disease / blood*
  • Graves Disease / diagnosis
  • Hashimoto Disease / blood*
  • Hashimoto Disease / diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Population Surveillance / methods*
  • Selenium / blood*
  • Thyroid Hormones / blood
  • Thyroiditis, Autoimmune


  • Thyroid Hormones
  • Selenium

Supplementary concepts

  • Hypothyroidism, Autoimmune