Mal J Nutr 23(2): 299 - 308, 2017

Plasma Arsenic and Selenium in Apparently Healthy Individuals in Ebonyi State, South-Eastern Nigeria
Ugwuja EI1,2, Uro-Chukwu HC3 & Ikaraoha IC4


ABSTRACT

Introduction: Although reports are conflicting on arsenic-selenium interactions, there is paucity of data on the determinants of plasma selenium (Se) and arsenic (As) in healthy individuals in Ebonyi State, South Eastern Nigeria. Ebonyi State is richly endowed with mineral deposits which are mined without consideration of their health hazards. This study is aimed at assessing the socio-demographic determinants of plasma arsenic and selenium in apparently healthy individuals in Ebonyi State.
Methods: Apparently healthy individuals (n=441) consisting of 117 males, 184 females and 140 pregnant females, aged ≥ 18 years (mean=38.5±0.6 yrs) were randomly selected from 130 geo-political Wards (10 Wards from each of the 13 Local Government Areas of Ebonyi state) to constitute the study population. Plasma arsenic and selenium were determined in blood samples using atomic absorption spectrophotometer. Socio-demographic data were collected using questionnaires while anthropometric measurements were determined using standard methods.
Results: The mean plasma arsenic levels were 0.204±0.02 (males), 0.209±0.02 (females), 0.186±0.02 μg/ dl (pregnant females) and plasma selenium levels were 0.134±0.01 (males), 0.138±0.01 (females), 0.147±0.01 μg/dl (pregnant females), respectively. Plasma Se levels were generally lower than the value (5.92 μg/dl) considered universally as inadequate. While plasma levels of As and Se were not significantly different between male and female, obese subjects had significantly lower plasma levels of both elements. There was a significant negative correlation between BMI and plasma As. Neither smoking nor alcohol consumption was associated with plasma levels of As and Se.
Conclusion: Apparently healthy individuals in Ebonyi State exhibited elevated plasma levels of As and low plasma Se, which may potentially place them at risk of adverse health associated with As toxicity.

Keywords: Anthropometrics, arsenic, interactions, selenium, socio-demographic features

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