Comparison of whole blood selenium values and erythrocyte glutathione peroxidase activities of normal individuals on supplementation with selenate, selenite, L-selenomethionine, and high selenium yeast

Biol Trace Elem Res. Jan-Apr 1988;15:125-38. doi: 10.1007/BF02990131.


The selenium levels and the glutathione peroxidase activity GSH-PX of whole blood and of erythrocytes, respectively, were determined in 139 normal Danes and related to sex and smoking habits. No differences were found in relation to sex apart from a higher GSH-PX activity of females when assayed with tertiary butyl hydroperoxide. Smokers showed significantly lower selenium values than non-smokers (p less than 0.05), but the two groups had identical GSH-PX activities. Individuals from the above-mentioned group were divided into four groups, receiving daily oral doses of 200 micrograms of selenium in the form of selenite, selenate, L-selenomethionine, and selenium as contained in yeast. Whole blood selenium values and the erythrocyte glutathione peroxidase activities were determined during three months of supplementation followed by a withdrawal period of four months. Both the inorganic selenium compounds and the organic derivatives gave rise to steady state levels of GSH-PX after one month of supplementation. However, the selenium levels in the groups receiving organic selenium showed a steady rise during the whole period, whereas those supplemented with inorganic selenium leveled off after a period of one to three months. The data for smokers and nonsmokers revealed identical results when organic selenium was supplemented. However, selenite gave rise to significantly higher selenium levels and GSH-PX activities in smokers than in non-smokers. Less significant (p less than 0.08) elevations of both parameters were also observed among the smokers in the selenate group. By taking both the selenium level and the GSH-PX activity into consideration, organic selenium (i.e., L-(+) selenomethionine) was judged to be more bioavailable than selenite and selenate.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Erythrocytes / drug effects
  • Erythrocytes / enzymology*
  • Female
  • Glutathione Peroxidase / blood*
  • Hemoglobins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Random Allocation
  • Reference Values
  • Regression Analysis
  • Selenic Acid
  • Selenious Acid
  • Selenium / blood*
  • Selenium / pharmacology*
  • Selenium Compounds*
  • Selenomethionine / pharmacology*
  • Yeast, Dried / pharmacology*


  • Hemoglobins
  • Selenium Compounds
  • Selenomethionine
  • Glutathione Peroxidase
  • Selenious Acid
  • Selenium
  • Selenic Acid