LONDON, Nov. 16 (UPI) -- British researchers discovered taking too much of the essential mineral selenium can increase cholesterol by 8 percent.
Dr. Saverio Stranges of the University Warwick Medical School said the body naturally absorbs selenium from foods such as vegetables, meat and seafood. However, when the balance is altered and the body absorbs too much selenium -- such as through taking selenium supplements -- it can have adverse affects.
Stranges said the research team examined the association of plasma selenium concentrations -- levels of selenium in the blood -- with blood lipids, fats in the blood.
The study, published in the Journal of Nutrition, found in those participants with higher plasma selenium -- more than 1.20 micromoles per liter -- there was an average total cholesterol level increase of 8 percent.
The researchers said a 10 percent increase in low-density lipoprotein, the "bad" cholesterol, can help predict the risk of someone suffering a heart attack or chest pain.
The study was conducted among 1,042 participants ages 19-64 in the 2000-2001 United Kingdom National Diet and Nutrition Survey. All participants were interviewed face-to-face and blood samples were taken.
Of the participants with the highest selenium levels, 48.2 percent said they regularly took dietary supplements.