Primary school children from northeast Thailand are not at risk of selenium deficiency.Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2006; 15(4):474-81.AP
Selenium has important roles as an antioxidant, in thyroid hormone metabolism, redox reactions, reproduction and immune function, but information on the selenium status of Thai children is limited. We have assessed the selenium status of 515 northeast Thai children (259 males; 256 females) aged 6 to 13 years from 10 rural schools in Ubon Ratchthani province. Serum selenium (n=515) was analyzed by Graphite Furnace Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometry and dietary selenium intake by Hydride Generation Absorption Spectrophotometry from one-day duplicate diet composites, from 80 (40 females; 40 males) randomly selected children. Inter-relationships between serum selenium and selenium intakes, and other biochemical micronutrient indices were also examined. Mean (SD) serum selenium was 1.46 (0.24) micro mol/L. Concentrations were not affected by infection or haemoglobinopathies, but were dependent on school (P< 0.001), sex (P=0.038), and age group (P=0.003), with serum zinc as a significant covariate. None of the children had serum selenium concentrations indicative of clinical selenium deficiency (i.e. <0.1 micro mol/L). Significant correlations existed between serum selenium and serum zinc (r= 0.216; P < 0.001), serum retinol (r = 0.273; P < 0.001), urinary iodine (r = -0.110; P = 0.014), haemoglobin (r = 0.298; P <0.001), and haematocrit (r = 0.303; P< 0.001). Mean (SD) dietary selenium intake was 46 (22) micro g/d. Children with low serum selenium concentrations had a lower mean selenium intake than those with high serum selenium concentrations (38 +/- 17 vs.51 +/- 24 micro g/d; P< 0.010). In conclusion, there appears to be no risk of selenium deficiency among these northeast Thai children.