Effect of selenium supplementation on changes in HbA1c: Results from a multiple-dose, randomized controlled trial

Saverio Stranges*, Margaret P. Rayman, Kristian H. Winther, Eliseo Guallar, Søren Cold, Roberto Pastor-Barriuso

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: To investigate the effect of selenium supplementation at different dose levels on changes in HbA1c after 6 months and 2 years in a population of low selenium status. Materials and Methods: The Denmark PRECISE study was a single-centre, randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled, multi-arm, parallel clinical trial with four groups. In total, 491 volunteers aged 60 to 74 years were randomly assigned to treatment with 100, 200 or 300 μg selenium/day as selenium-enriched yeast or placebo-yeast. HbA1c measurements were available for 489 participants at baseline, 435 at 6 months, and 369 after 2 years of selenium supplementation. Analyses were performed by intention to treat. Results: The mean (SD) age, plasma-selenium concentration, and blood HbA1c at baseline were 66.1 (4.1) years, 86.5 (16.3) ng/g and 36.6 (7.0) mmol/mol, respectively. During the initial 6-month intervention period, mean HbA1c (95% CI) decreased by 1.5 (−2.8 to −0.2) mmol/mol for 100 μg/d of selenium supplementation and by 0.7 (−2.0 to 0.6) mmol/mol for the 200 and 300 μg/d groups compared with placebo (P = 0.16 for homogeneity of changes across the four groups). After 2 years of selenium supplementation, HbA1c had decreased significantly in all treatment groups, with no difference between active treatment and placebo. Conclusions: Selenium supplementation in an elderly European population of low selenium status did not significantly affect HbA1c levels after 2 years. Our findings corroborate a possible U-shaped response of selenium supplementation on glucose metabolism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)541-549
Number of pages9
JournalDiabetes, Obesity and Metabolism
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019


  • HbA1c
  • diabetes
  • randomized controlled trial
  • selenium
  • selenium dose
  • selenium toxicity


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