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Selenium intake reduces serum C3, an early marker of metabolic syndrome manifestations, in healthy young adults



To evaluate the associations between serum complement factor 3 (C3) and several anthropometrical, biochemical and lifestyle features in healthy young adults, emphasizing on the putative effect of selenium intake on C3 concentrations.


This study enrolled 100 healthy young adults aged 18–34 years. Anthropometric and blood pressure measurements and lifestyle features were analyzed. Fasting blood samples were collected for the measurement of glucose, total cholesterol, HDL-cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, triacylglycerols and C3 concentrations. Nail samples were collected for the analysis of selenium concentrations.


Values of BMI (P=0.034), sum of skinfold thicknesses (STs) (P=0.021), body fat mass (BFM) (P=0.023), percentage of overweight subjects (P=0.007), serum triacylglycerols (P=0.012) and nail selenium (P=0.001) were significantly different between subjects above and below the median of serum C3 concentrations. The following correlations with serum C3 were identified tricipital ST (P=0.033), sum of STs (P=0.012), BMI (P=0.008), BFM (P=0.018), waist-to-height ratio (P=0.016), serum glucose (P=0.045), serum triacylglycerols (P=0.001) and nail selenium (P=0.006). Circulating C3 showed a positive association with several adiposity markers such as BMI (P=0.001), waist circumference (P=0.006), waist-to-height ratio (P=0.002), BFM (P=0.025), as well as serum glucose (P=0.027) and triacylglycerols (P<0.001), whereas nail selenium was a statistically significant negative predictor of C3 concentrations (P=0.018).


C3 seems to be related with selenium status and several anthropometrical and biochemical measurements linked to metabolic syndrome in apparently healthy young adults. These findings suggest a possible role for selenium intake in the modulation of C3, whose assessment may be an early marker of metabolic syndrome manifestations.

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This study is supported by the Línea Especial about Nutrition, Obesity and Health (LE/97), the Health Department of the Government of Navarra (22/2007) and the ADA fellowships scheme of the University of Navarra. We thank Verónica Ciáurriz and Ana Lorente for technical assistance, Blanca Martínez de Morentin and Salomé Pérez for assistance with the data collection and all those who volunteered to participate in the study.

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Correspondence to J A Martínez.

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Contributors: BP and AG were responsible for the recruitment of subjects and the data collection. BP also contributed with the data analysis, interpretation of the results, and writing of the paper. IN contributed to the nail analysis, the interpretation of the results and review of the paper. MAZ and JAM contributed to the study design, supervision and review of the paper as well as with financial management.

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Puchau, B., Zulet, M., González de Echávarri, A. et al. Selenium intake reduces serum C3, an early marker of metabolic syndrome manifestations, in healthy young adults. Eur J Clin Nutr 63, 858–864 (2009).

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  • inflammation
  • complement factor 3
  • oxidative stress
  • antioxidant
  • selenium
  • metabolic syndrome

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