Requirements for selenium and other antioxidant nutrients are increased in pro-oxidant and pro-inflammatory conditions such as excess adiposity. Data concerning the association of excess general and central adiposity with circulating selenium concentrations, however, are limited. We examined the cross-sectional associations of body mass index (BMI), percent body fat (%BF), and waist circumference (WC) with serum selenium concentrations in 6440 men and 6849 women aged ≥20 years who participated in the U.S. Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. In multivariable analyses, the average difference (95% confidence interval (CI)) in serum selenium comparing the highest with the lowest quartiles of BMI was −4.0 (−5.5, −1.6) ng/mL in both men and women. These inverse associations were evident after further adjustment for WC. For %BF, the average differences (95% CI) in serum selenium between the highest and the lowest quartiles of %BF were −1.7 (−4.2, 0.7) ng/mL in men and −4.5 (−7.0, −1.9) ng/mL in women. The inverse association in women persisted after adjusting for WC. For WC, the average differences (95% CI) in serum selenium between the highest and the lowest quartiles were −1.9 (−3.8, −0.1) ng/mL in men and −3.9 (−5.8, −2.0) ng/mL in women. After further adjustment for BMI, the inverse association became positive in men and null in women. Our findings suggest that general and central adiposity have different associations with serum selenium levels and that these associations may depend on gender.
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