Abstract Title:

Serum selenium and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) in U.S. adults: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2011-2016.

Abstract Source:

Environ Res. 2021 Apr 16:111190. Epub 2021 Apr 16. PMID: 33872646

Abstract Author(s):

Xin Wang, Young Ah Seo, Sung Kyun Park

Article Affiliation:

Xin Wang


BACKGROUND: Selenium is an essential trace element that shows beneficial or adverse health effects depending on the dose. Laboratory studies suggest that high selenium may contribute to the development of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). However, human evidence is limited. We evaluated the associations of serum selenium level with serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) activity and suspected NAFLD prevalence in U.S. adults.

METHODS: We conducted the cross-sectional analysis in 3,827 adults aged 20 years and older without viral hepatitis, hemochromatosis, or alcoholic liver disease who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2011-2012, 2013-2014, and 2015-2016. Serum selenium was measured using inductively coupled plasma dynamic reaction cell mass spectrometry. Suspected NAFLD cases were defined in the presence of serum ALT>30 international units (IU)/L in men and>19 I.U./L in women in the absence of other identifiable causes of liver disease.

RESULTS: The median (interquartile range) of serum selenium level was 127.9 (117.9, 139.4)μg/L. Non-linear associations of serum selenium with NAFLD prevalence and serum ALT activity were observed in the generalized additive models with penalized splines. After adjustment for sociodemographic variables, lifestyle factors, body mass index, and NHANES survey cycles, positive associationswere found at>∼130 μg/L serum selenium with both NAFLD and ALT, whereas the associations were flattened at<∼130 μg/L.

CONCLUSIONS: Our findings provide evidence of non-linear associations of serum selenium with ALT activity and NAFLD prevalence. In particular, positive associations were found above serum selenium level of 130μg/L, whereas no association was observed below this value. This finding requires confirmation in future prospective cohort studies.

Study Type : Human Study

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