Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Selenium and antioxidant vitamin status of elderly German women

Abstract

Objective:

Low antioxidant intake and status have been shown to be associated with an elevated risk for various diseases. Data on the status of antioxidant vitamins, selenium and coenzyme Q10 of younger female seniors are scarce. The aim of this study was to assess the status of these antioxidants, as well as influencing factors such as dietary intake, anthropometric data and educational level in female seniors (60–70 years) in Germany.

Design:

Dietary intake of alpha-tocopherol, beta-carotene and ascorbic acid was determined by a 3-day diet record. Serum concentrations of alpha-tocopherol, beta-carotene, ascorbic acid, selenium and coenzyme Q10 were measured. Anthropometric measures, socioeconomic and educational status were assessed.

Setting:

In total, 178 elderly women without severe diseases in the region of Hannover, Germany, were included in the study. The mean (±s.d.) age and BMI of the women was 63.2 (2.73) years and 25.6 (3.77) kg/m2, respectively. The study participants were generally better educated than the overall German female population.

Results:

Dietary intake of the ascorbic acid and alpha-tocopherol was below RDA in six and 75% of the women, respectively. In comparison to estimated desirable serum concentrations of alpha-tocopherol, ascorbic acid, beta-carotene and selenium, lower concentrations were found in 23, 1, 6, and 39% of the women, respectively. Ascorbic acid (r=0.205, P=0.009) and beta-carotene (r=0.173, P=0.025) intake were significantly associated with serum concentrations. Beta-carotene concentrations were influenced by the type of diet, BMI, and school education (R2=0.128, P<0.001). Serum selenium was positively associated with alcohol intake (r=0.229, P=0.003). Neither employment nor vocational training was predictive for the serum concentrations of antioxidant vitamins, selenium or coenzyme Q10.

Conclusions:

Poor status of selenium and alpha-tocopherol is highly prevalent even among younger, well-educated female seniors, whereas ascorbic acid and beta-carotene status seems sufficient in most women.

Sponsorship:

The study was supported by grants from the Stoll Vita Foundation, Waldshut-Tiengen, Germany.

This is a preview of subscription content

Access options

Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

$32.00

All prices are NET prices.

Figure 1
Figure 2
Figure 3
Figure 4
Figure 5

References

  • Albanes D, Malila N, Taylor PR, Huttunen JK, Virtamo J, Edwards BK et al. (2000). Effects of supplemental alpha-tocopherol and beta-carotene on colorectal cancer: results from a controlled trial (Finland). Cancer Causes Control 11, 197–205.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • ATBC (The Alpha-Tocopherol, Beta-Carotene Cancer Prevention Study Group) (1994). The effect of vitamin E and beta carotene on the incidence of lung cancer and other cancers in male smokers. N Engl J Med 330, 1029–1035.

  • Bates CJ, Thane CW, Prentice A, Delves HT (2002). Selenium status and its correlates in a British national diet and nutrition survey: people aged 65 years and over. J Trace Elem Med Biol 16, 1–8.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bazzano LA, Serdula MK, Liu S (2003). Dietary intake of fruits and vegetables and risk of cardiovascular disease. Curr Atheroscler Rep 5, 492–499.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • BgVV (Bundesinstitut für gesundheitlichen Verbraucherschutz und Veterinärmedizin) (1994). Die Bundeslebensmittelschlüssel-Dokumentation, BLS-Anwenderinformation für die Datenbank BLSDAT.dbf; BLS, Version II.2, Berlin (‘Federal Institute of Consumer Health and Veterinary Medicine’ (1994): The food data base, BLS user information on the data base. BLS, Version 11.2, Berlin).

  • Borawska MH, Witkowska AM, Hukalowicz K, Markiewicz R (2004). Influence of dietary habits on serum selenium concentration. Ann Nutr Metab 48, 134–140.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Broome CS, McArdle F, Kyle JA, Andrews F, Lowe NM, Hart CA et al. (2004). An increase in selenium intake improves immune function and poliovirus handling in adults with marginal selenium status. Am J Clin Nutr 80, 154–162.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Combs Jr GF (2001). Selenium in global food systems. Br J Nutr 85, 517–547.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Crane FL, Sun EE, Sun IL (1993). The essential functions of coenzyme Q. Clin Investig 71 (Suppl), 55–59.

    Google Scholar 

  • Duffield-Lillico AJ, Slate EH, Reid ME, Turnbull BW, Wilkins PA, Combs Jr GF et al. (2003). Nutritional Prevention of Cancer Study Group. Selenium supplementation and secondary prevention of nonmelanoma skin cancer in a randomized trial. J Natl Cancer Inst 95, 1477–1481.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Duffield AJ, Thomson CD, Hill KE, Williams S (1999). An estimation of selenium requirements for New Zealanders. Am J Clin Nutr 70, 896–903.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ekmekcioglu C (2001). The role of trace elements for the health of elderly individuals. Nahrung 45, 309–316.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Federal Statistical Office (Statistisches Bundesamt), ed. Datenreport 1994 (Data report 1994). Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung (Federal Center for Political Education), Vol. 325. Bonn: Schriftenreihe. pp. 70–71.

  • Food and Nutrition Board (2000). Dietary Reference Intakes. Institute of Medicine. Institute of Medicine, Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

  • Gey KF (1998). Vitamins E plus C and interacting conutrients required for optimal health. Biofactors 7, 113–174.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gonzalez S, Huerta JM, Alvarez-Uria J, Fernandez S, Patterson AM, Lasheras C (2004). Serum selenium is associated with plasma homocysteine concentrations in elderly humans. J Nutr 134, 1736–1740.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hansson LE, Nyren O, Bergstrom R, Wolk A, Lindgren A, Baron J et al. (1994). Nutrients and gastric cancer risk. A population-based case–control study in Sweden. Int J Cancer 57, 638–644.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hennekens CH, Buring JE, Manson JE, Stampfer M, Rosner B, Cook NR et al. (1996). Lack of effect of long-term supplementation with beta carotene on the incidence of malignant neoplasms and cardiovascular disease. N Engl J Med 334, 1145–1149.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hercberg S, Galan P, Preziosi P, Bertrais S, Mennen L, Malvy D et al. (2004). The SU.VI.MAX Study: a randomized, placebo-controlled trial of the health effects of antioxidant vitamins and minerals. Arch Intern Med 164, 2335–2342.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hill KE, Xia Y, Akesson B, Boeglin ME, Burk RF (1996). Selenoprotein P concentration in plasma is an index of selenium status in selenium-deficient and selenium-supplemented Chinese subjects. J Nutr 126, 138–145.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kafai MR, Ganji V (2003). Sex, age, geographical location, smoking, and alcohol consumption influence serum selenium concentrations in the USA: third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1988–1994. J Trace Elem Med Biol 17, 13–18.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kaikkonen J, Nyyssönen K, Tomasi A, Lannone A, Tuomainen T-P, Porkkala-Sarataho E et al. (2000). Antioxidative efficacy of parallel and combined supplementation with coenzyme Q10 and d-alpha-tocopherol in mildly hypercholesterolemic subjects: a randomized placebo-controlled clinical study. Free Rad Res 33, 329–340.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lee O, Moon J, Chung Y (2003). The relationship between serum selenium levels and lipid profiles in adult women. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol 49, 397–404.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lewis SM, Mayhugh MA, Freni SC, Thorn B, Cardoso S, Buffington C et al. (2003). Assessment of antioxidant nutrient intake of a population of southern US African-American and Caucasian women of various ages when compared to dietary reference intakes. J Nutr Health Aging 7, 121–128.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Malila N, Taylor PR, Virtanen MJ, Korhonen P, Huttunen JK, Albanes D et al. (2002). Effects of alpha-tocopherol and beta-carotene supplementation on gastric cancer incidence in male smokers (ATBC Study, Finland). Cancer Causes Control 13, 617–623.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Mark SD, Qiao YL, Dawsey SM, Wu YP, Katki H, Gunter EW et al. (2000). Prospective study of serum selenium levels and incident esophageal and gastric cancers. J Natl Cancer Inst 92, 1753–1763.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Morris CD, Carson S (2003). Routine vitamin supplementation to prevent cardiovascular disease: a summary of the evidence for the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Ann Intern Med 139, 56–70.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Murphy J, Cashman KD (2002). Selenium status of Irish adults: evidence of insufficiency. Irish J Med Sci 171, 81–84.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Navarro-Alarcon M, Lopez-Garcia de la Serrana H, Perez-Valero V, Lopez-Martinez C (1999). Serum and urine selenium concentrations in patients with cardiovascular diseases and relationship to other nutritional indexes. Ann Nutr Metab 43, 30–36.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Neuhouser ML, Patterson RE, King IB, Horner NK, Lampe JW (2003). Selected nutritional biomarkers predict diet quality. Public Health Nutr 6, 703–709.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Olmedilla B, Granado F, Southon S, Wright AJ, Blanco I, Gil-Martinez E et al. (2001). Serum concentrations of carotenoids and vitamins A, E, and C in control subjects from five European countries. Br J Nutr 85, 227–238.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Omenn GS, Goodman GE, Thornquist MD, Balmes J, Cullen MR, Glass A et al. (1996). Risk factors for lung cancer incidence and intervention effects in CARET, the Beta-Carotene and Retinol Efficacy Trial. J Natl Cancer Inst 88, 1550–1559.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Osganian SK, Stampfer MJ, Rimm E, Spiegelman D, Hu FB, Manson JE et al. (2003). Vitamin C and risk of coronary heart disease in women. J Am Coll Cardiol 42, 246–252.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Palli D, Recarli A, Russo A, Cipriani F, Giocosa A, Amadori D et al. (1999). Plasma levels of antioxidant vitamins and cholesterol in a large population sample in Central-Northern Italy. Eur J Nutr 38, 90–98.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Preziosi P, Galan P, Herbeth B, Valeix P, Roussel AM, Malvy D et al. (1998). Effects of supplementation with a combination of antioxidant vitamins and trace elements, at nutritional doses, on biochemical indicators and markers of the antioxidant system in adult subjects. J Am Coll Nutr 17, 244–249.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Rapola JM, Virtamo J, Ripatti S, Huttunen JK, Albanes D, Taylor PR et al. (1997). Trial of alpha-tocopherol and beta-carotene supplements on incidence of major coronary events in men with previous myocardial infarction. Lancet 349, 1715–1720.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Rimm EB, Stampfer MJ, Ascherio A, Giovannucci E, Colditz GA, Willett WC (1993). Vitamin E consumption and the risk of coronary heart disease in men. N Engl J Med 328, 1450–1456.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ruf T, Nagel G, Altenburg HP, Miller AB, Thorand B (2005). Food and nutrient intake, anthropometric measurements and smoking according to alcohol consumption in the EPIC Heidelberg study. Ann Nutr Metab 49, 16–25.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Rukgauer M, Klein J, Kruse-Jarres JD (1997). Reference values for the trace elements copper, manganese, selenium, and zinc in the serum/plasma of children, adolescents, and adults. J Trace Elem Med Biol 11, 92–98.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Schumann K (1999). Interactions between drugs and vitamins at advanced age. Int J Vitam Nutr Res 69, 173–178.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Thomson CD (2004). Assessment of requirements for selenium and adequacy of selenium status: a review. Eur J Clin Nutr 58, 391–402.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Villegas R, Salim A, Collins MM, Flynn A, Perry IJ (2004). Dietary patterns in middle-aged Irish men and women defined by cluster analysis. Public Health Nutr 7, 1017–1024.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Vogel S, Contois JH, Tucker KL, Wilson PWF, Schaefer EJ, Lammi-Keefe CJ (1997). Plasma retinol and plasma and lipoprotein tocopherol and carotenoid concentrations in healthy elderly participants of the Framingham Heart Study. Am J Clin Nutr 66, 950–958.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wallström P, Wirfält E, Lahmann PH, Gullberg B, Janzon L, Berglund G (2001). Serum concentrations of beta-carotene and alpha-tocopherol are associated with diet, smoking, and general and central adiposity. Am J Clin Nutr 73, 777–785.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Weber P, Bendich A, Machlin LJ (1997). Vitamin E and human health: Rationale for determining recommended intake levels. Nutrition 13, 450–460.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wolters M, Hahn A (2003). Plasma ubiquinone status and response to six month supplementation combined with multivitamins in healthy elderly women – results of a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Int J Vitam Nutr Res 73, 207–214.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wolters M, Hermann S, Hahn A (2003). B vitamin status and concentrations of homocysteine and methylmalonic acid in elderly German women. Am J Clin Nutr 78, 765–772.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wolters M, Hermann S, Hahn A (2004). Effects of 6-month multivitamin supplementation on serum concentrations of alpha-tocopherol, beta-carotene, and vitamin C in healthy elderly women. Int J Vitam Nutr Res 74, 161–168.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to M Wolters.

Additional information

Guarantors: M Wolters and A Hahn.

Contributors: AH and MW originated and designed the study. SH coordinated the study and organised blood sampling and data collection. SG and NK were responsible for the analytical measurements. MW wrote the paper.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Wolters, M., Hermann, S., Golf, S. et al. Selenium and antioxidant vitamin status of elderly German women. Eur J Clin Nutr 60, 85–91 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.ejcn.1602271

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Revised:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.ejcn.1602271

Keywords

  • ascorbic acid
  • alpha-tocopherol
  • aging
  • beta-carotene
  • coenzyme Q10
  • nutritional status
  • ubiquinol
  • vitamin C
  • vitamin E

Further reading

Search

Quick links