Selenium and diabetes in the tropics

Yadav, S. ; Day, J. P. ; Mohan, V. ; Snehalatha, C. ; Braganza, J. M. (1991) Selenium and diabetes in the tropics Pancreas, 6 (5). pp. 528-533. ISSN 0885-3177

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We have examined the possibility that selenium deficiency may underlie one or more of the following peculiarities of chronic pancreatitis in tropical as compared to temperate zones: much higher prevalence, propensity for pancreatic calculi, and high frequency of diabetes. Selenium was measured by graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrometry in sera from 20 healthy volunteers, 36 patients with chronic pancreatitis (calcitic 35, diabetic 32), and 23 patients with primary forms of diabetes, from Madras, South India; results were compared with data from 41 controls and 37 patients with chronic pancreatitis (calcitic 13, diabetes 8) from Manchester, North West, England. We conclude that (a) bioavailability of selenium is equally high in each geographic area; (b) decrement in serum selenium (p < 0.001) is of a similar order in Manchester and Madras patients, which denies a connection with calculi formation or pancreatic exocrine failure (since the incidence of these two problems was substantially higher in the Madras series); and (c) selenium levels do not account for accelerated course to diabetes in tropical chronic pancreatitis.

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