Whole-blood and plasma selenium (Se) concentrations, red blood cell and plasma glutathione peroxidase activities, and red blood cell glutathione concentrations were investigated in 49 healthy pregnant women. Mean whole-blood and red blood cell Se concentrations started to decline after the 16th week and plasma Se after the 26th week of pregnancy. The lowest values were noted just before delivery. Negative correlations were found between the gestational age and both whole-blood and plasma Se concentrations: (r = ––0.560 (p < 0.001) and r = ––0.553 (p < 0.001), respectively. Plasma and red blood cell glutathione peroxidase activities started to decrease after the 20th and 30th week of pregnancy, respectively, and before delivery were significantly lower (p < 0.001) than during the 10th week of pregnancy. The red blood cell glutathione concentration increased significantly just before delivery. These results seem to confirm the supposition that in pregnant women with low or even moderate blood Se concentrations the requirement for the element significantly increases.

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