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Plasma mineral (selenium, zinc or copper) concentrations in the general pregnant population, adjusted for supplement intake, in relation to thyroid function

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Victor Pop, Johannes Krabbe, Wolfgang Maret, Margaret Rayman

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-78
Number of pages8
JournalBritish Journal of Nutrition
Issue number1
Early online date14 Jul 2020
Accepted/In press7 Jul 2020
E-pub ahead of print14 Jul 2020
Published14 Jan 2021


King's Authors


The present study reports on first-trimester reference ranges of plasma mineral Se/Zn/Cu concentration in relation to free thyroxine (FT4), thyrotropin (TSH) and thyroid peroxidase antibodies (TPO-Ab), assessed at 12 weeks' gestation in 2041 pregnant women, including 544 women not taking supplements containing Se/Zn/Cu. The reference range (2·5th-97·5th percentiles) in these 544 women was 0·72-1·25 μmol/l for Se, 17·15-35·98 μmol/l for Cu and 9·57-16·41 μmol/l for Zn. These women had significantly lower mean plasma Se concentration (0·94 (sd 0·12) μmol/l) than those (n 1479) taking Se/Zn/Cu supplements (1·03 (sd 0·14) μmol/l; P < 0·001), while the mean Cu (26·25 μmol/l) and Zn (12·55 μmol/l) concentrations were almost identical in these sub-groups. Women with hypothyroxinaemia (FT4 below reference range with normal TSH) had significantly lower plasma Zn concentrations than euthyroid women. After adjusting for covariates including supplement intake, plasma Se (negatively), Zn and Cu (positively) concentrations were significantly related to logFT4; Se and Cu (but not Zn) were positively and significantly related to logTSH. Women taking additional Se/Zn/Cu supplements were 1·46 (95 % CI 1·09, 2·04) times less likely to have elevated titres of TPO-Ab at 12 weeks of gestation. We conclude that first-trimester Se reference ranges are influenced by Se-supplement intake, while Cu and Zn ranges are not. Plasma mineral Se/Zn/Cu concentrations are associated with thyroid FT4 and TSH concentrations. Se/Zn/Cu supplement intake affects TPO-Ab status. Future research should focus on the impact of trace mineral status during gestation on thyroid function.

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