Maternal hair selenium levels as a possible long-term nutritional indicator of recurrent pregnancy loss
journal contributionposted on 2013-01-01, 00:00 authored by V Thomas, R Knight, Stephen Haswell, S Lindow, Z van der Spuy
BackgroundApproximately 1% of all couples trying to conceive will suffer from recurrent pregnancy loss (RPL). Nutritional deficiencies have been postulated as a possible cause of RPL and in particular, selenium deficiency has been associated with reproductive failure in animal studies and more recently, in some human studies. This study was undertaken to assess the maternal hair selenium levels in women with RPL without an identified cause and to compare these results with those of women with successful reproductive histories.MethodsTwenty four patients with RPL and twenty four control subjects with at least one successful pregnancy and no pregnancy failures, who were matched for age and ethnicity, were recruited. A questionnaire was completed, which included demographic and social information and a dietary history. Hair samples were collected and analyzed for selenium content by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry.ResultsThe control subjects had a higher mean income and had completed more years of education compared with the RPL patients. There was no significant difference in the intake of selenium rich foods between the 2 groups. The patients, however, consumed significantly more fruit, cheese, potatoes and chocolate than the controls. The median (range) selenium content was 0.80 ppm (0.19-4.15) and 0.68 ppm (0.43-3.76) in patients and controls respectively (Mann Whitney U test 209.5 p = 0.74).ConclusionsWhile there were significant differences in the 2 groups with regard to resources, education and diet our results show that hair selenium concentrations and dietary selenium intake, were similar in the two groups. Both groups had low levels of this important element.