European Journal of Nutrition

, Volume 49, Issue 8, pp 465–472 | Cite as

Dietary habits of Greek adults and serum total selenium concentration: the ATTICA study

  • S. Letsiou
  • T. Nomikos
  • D. Panagiotakos
  • S. A. Pergantis
  • E. Fragopoulou
  • S. Antonopoulou
  • C. Pitsavos
  • C. Stefanadis
Original Contribution



The trace element selenium is an essential micronutrient for human health, and its low levels in serum are implicated in the pathogenesis of several chronic diseases. The determination of total serum selenium levels may contribute to the assessment of the health status of all populations. Since the serum selenium levels are highly affected by diet, we assessed its association with the dietary habits of Greek adults.


Serum selenium levels were determined with inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry in a cohort of 506 participants (men: 296, women: 210) aged 18–75 from the ATTICA study. Food consumption was evaluated with a validated food-frequency questionnaire.


Evaluation of the relationship between serum total selenium with major food groups and beverages by multi-adjusted analysis revealed that serum selenium was positively correlated with the consumption of red meat (2.37 ± 0.91, p = 0.01) while the consumption of other selenium-containing foods (i.e., fish, cereals, dairy products, vegetables) did not demonstrate such a relationship. Moreover, principal component analysis revealed that the adoption of a vegetarian type of diet is inversely correlated with total selenium (−3.94 ± 2.28, p = 0.08).


Among the dietary habits that were examined, red meat seems to be the major determinant of serum selenium in Greek adults.


Dietary habits Serum selenium Greeks Red meat 



The authors Sophia Letsiou and Spiros A. Pergantis thank the European Commission for the funding of a Marie Curie Excellence Grant (Contact No. MEXT-CT-2003-002788). Moreover, the ATTICA Study is funded by research grants from the Hellenic Society of Cardiology (grant—1, 2002). The authors would like to thank the field investigators of “ATTICA” study: Natasa Katinioti, Spiros Vellas, Constantina Masoura for the physical examination, Efi Tsetsekou and Charambos Papageorgiou for the psychological evaluation, Manolis Kambaxis and Konstantina Palliou for the nutritional evaluation, as well as the laboratory team: Marina Toutouza (biochemical analysis), Carmen Vassiliadou (genetic analysis), Chryssoula Tselika (biochemical evaluation), Sia Poulopoulou (biochemical evaluation) and Maria Toutouza (database management).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. Letsiou
    • 1
    • 2
  • T. Nomikos
    • 1
  • D. Panagiotakos
    • 1
  • S. A. Pergantis
    • 2
  • E. Fragopoulou
    • 1
  • S. Antonopoulou
    • 1
  • C. Pitsavos
    • 3
  • C. Stefanadis
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Science of Nutrition-DieteticsHarokopio UniversityAthensGreece
  2. 2.Department of ChemistryUniversity of CreteHeraklioGreece
  3. 3.First Cardiology Clinic, School of MedicineUniversity of AthensAthensGreece

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