Hair Se Is a Sensitive Biomarker to Monitor the Effects of Se Supplementation in Elderly

Linxi Yuan*, Zheng Feei Ma, Minming Zhang, Liqiang Qin, Xuebin Yin, Feng Han

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


It is rapidly increasing to have selenium (Se) supplementation for urban elderly population in China since they are facing a widespread deficiency daily Se intake. However, until now, there is no low-cost, non-invasive, rapid, and reliable method to monitor the health improvement or risk for elderly Se-supplemented population in China. The present cross-sectional study (229 participants with older than 55 years old) performed in Beijing, China, revealed that the Se concentrations of non-supplementer users (n = 27) were 55 ± 23 μg/L in urine, 139.9 ± 102.3 μg/L in serum, and 487.6 ± 158.7 μg/kg in hair. But a significant increase on hair Se concentrations (615.4 ± 238.8 μg/kg) was observed for Se supplementer users (n = 202) (p < 0.05); there were no significant statistical differences in serum and urine between the Se-supplemented (n = 202) and Se non-supplemented groups (n = 27). This indicated the hair Se levels could be a more sensitive biomarker for Se-supplemented elderly population. Participants who consumed Se supplements for 7–12 months had the highest Se status based on hair and serum Se concentrations (p < 0.05). The present study also revealed that most elderly adults in Beijing just need to supplement 50 μg Se per day to achieve Se plateau status. Furthermore, hair Se levels were positively related with triglycerides/TG levels (p < 0.05) but not body mass index/BMI, total cholesterol/TC, and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol/LDL, implicating Se supplementation for Se sufficiency baseline in elderly population in Beijing likely posed health risk, especially on TG because of excessive Se oxidation stress. An ongoing monitoring of Se status via hair is still warranted to prevent future Se deficiency or excess in China.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)488-496
Number of pages9
JournalBiological Trace Element Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022


  • China
  • Elderly
  • Hair
  • Selenium supplementation
  • Serum
  • Urine

Cite this