Selenium and type 2 diabetes: Systematic review

Lindsay N. Kohler, Janet Foote, Connor P. Kelley, Ana Florea, Colleen Shelly, H. H.Sherry Chow, Paul Hsu, Ken Batai, Nathan Ellis, Kathylynn Saboda, Peter Lance, Elizabeth T. Jacobs

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


Several studies have investigated the potential role of selenium (Se) in the development of type 2 diabetes (T2D) with disparate findings. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to synthesize the evidence of any association between Se and T2D. PubMed, Embase, and Scopus were searched following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analysis Approach (PRISMA). Sixteen studies from 15 papers met inclusion criteria defined for this review. Of the 13 observational studies included, 8 demonstrated a statistically significant positive association between concentrations of Se and odds for T2D, with odds ratios (95% confidence intervals) ranging from 1.52 (1.01–2.28) to 7.64 (3.34–17.46), and a summary odds ratio (OR) (95% confidence interval (CI)) of 2.03 (1.51–2.72). In contrast, among randomized clinical trials (RCTs) of Se, a higher risk of T2D was not observed for those who received Se compared to a placebo (OR = 1.18, 95% CI 0.95–1.47). Taken together, the results for the relationship between Se and T2D differ between observational studies and randomized clinical trials (RCTs). It remains unclear whether these differences are the result of uncontrolled confounding in the observational studies, or whether there is a modest effect of Se on the risk for T2D that may vary by duration of exposure. Further investigations on the effects of Se on glucose metabolism are needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1924
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2018


  • Glucose
  • Insulin resistance
  • Review
  • Selenium
  • Selenium supplementation
  • Type 2 diabetes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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