No effect of modest selenium supplementation on insulin resistance in UK pregnant women, as assessed by plasma adiponectin concentration Academic Article uri icon


  • AbstractConcern has been expressed recently that Se may increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, but this has not been tested in a randomised-controlled trial (RCT) in pregnant women. We took advantage of having stored plasma samples from the Se in Pregnancy Intervention (SPRINT) RCT of Se supplementation in pregnancy to test the effect of Se supplementation on a marker of insulin resistance in UK pregnant women. Because our blood samples were not fasted, we measured plasma adiponectin concentration, a recognised marker of insulin resistance that gives valid measurements in non-fasted samples, as diurnal variability is minor and there is no noticeable effect of food intake. In SPRINT, 230 primiparous UK women were randomised to treatment with Se (60 μg/d) or placebo from 12 weeks of gestation until delivery. We hypothesised that supplementation with Se at a nutritional level would not exacerbate the fall in adiponectin concentration that occurs in normal pregnancy, indicating the lack of an adverse effect on insulin resistance. Indeed, there was no significant difference between the two groups in the change in adiponectin from 12 to 35 weeks (P=0·938), nor when the analysis was restricted to the bottom or top quartiles of baseline whole-blood Se (P=0·515 and 0·858, respectively). Cross-sectionally, adiponectin concentration was not associated with any parameter of Se status, either at 12 or 35 weeks. It is reassuring that a nutritional dose of Se had no adverse effect on the concentration of adiponectin, a biomarker of insulin resistance, in pregnant women of modest Se status.


  • Mao, Jinyuan
  • Bath, Sarah C
  • Vanderlelie, Jessica
  • Perkins, Anthony V
  • Redman, Christopher WG
  • Rayman, Margaret P

publication date

  • 2016