Objective: To measure the intake of selenium (Se) and the contribution of different food groups to Se intake in adults aged 18-64y in Ireland. The adequacy of Se intake in the population is also assessed.
Design: Food consumption was estimated using a 7 day food diary for a representative sample (n = 1379; men = 662, women = 717) of 18-64-y-old Irish adults selected randomly from the electoral register. Se intake was estimated using updated tables of food composition.
Results: Mean daily Se intakes (+/-s.d.) from all sources (ie food plus supplements), and from food sources alone, for the group of Irish adults aged 18-64y were 52 (+/-23) and 50 (+/-21) mug, respectively. Mean daily Se intake (from all sources) was significantly higher in men of all ages than women of all ages at levels of 60 and 44 mug, respectively (P < 0.001). Meat/meat products (30%), bread and rolls (24%), fish/fish products (&SIM;11%), and milk and yoghurt (9%) were the main contributors to mean daily Se intake. Adequacy of Se intake in population groups was estimated as the percentage of the population with mean daily Se intakes that were lower than the average requirement of 40 μg. Using this measure, 45.6% of women and 17.1% of men had inadequate Se intakes.
Conclusion: A significant prevalence of inadequate Se intakes was observed in Irish adults. Therefore, it would seem prudent that the Se status of the Irish population be investigated at this time.