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PURPOSE: Selenium is an essential trace mineral and a component of selenoproteins that are involved in the production of thyroid hormones and in regulating the immune response. We aimed to explore the effect of low-dose selenium supplementation on thyroid peroxidase antibody (TPO-Ab) concentration and thyroid function in pregnant women from a mild-to-moderate iodine-deficient population. METHODS: Samples and data were from a secondary analysis of Selenium in PRegnancy INTervention (SPRINT), a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study that recruited 230 women with singleton pregnancies from a UK antenatal clinic at 12 weeks of gestation. Women were randomized to receive 60 µg/day selenium or placebo until delivery. Serum thyroid peroxidase antibodies (TPO-Ab), thyrotropin (TSH) and free thyroxine (FT4) were measured at 12, 20 and 35 weeks and thyroglobulin antibodies (Tg-Ab) at 12 weeks. RESULTS: 93.5% of participants completed the study. Se supplementation had no more effect than placebo in decreasing TPO-Ab concentration or the prevalence of TPO-Ab positivity during the course of pregnancy. In women who were either TPO-Ab or Tg-Ab negative at baseline (Thy-Ab(-ve)), TSH increased and FT4 decreased significantly throughout gestation (P < 0.001), with no difference between treatment groups. In women who were Thy-Ab(+ve) at baseline, TSH tended to decrease and was lower than placebo at 35 weeks (P = 0.050). FT4 fell more on Se than placebo supplementation and was significantly lower at 35 weeks (P = 0.029). CONCLUSIONS: Low-dose selenium supplementation in pregnant women with mild-to-moderate deficiency had no effect on TPO-Ab concentration, but tended to change thyroid function in Thy-Ab(+ve) women.

Original publication




Journal article


Eur J Nutr

Publication Date





55 - 61


Iodine, Pregnancy, Selenium, Thyroid autoimmunity, Thyroid function, Thyroid peroxidase antibodies, Autoantibodies, Body Mass Index, Dietary Supplements, Dose-Response Relationship, Drug, Double-Blind Method, Female, Humans, Iodine, Pregnancy, Selenium, Thyroid Gland, Thyrotropin, Thyroxine, United Kingdom