The selenium content of infant formulae varies as a result of differences in the amount of intrinsic selenium compounds. Manufacturers have been gradually changing the protein profile of infant formulae to reflect human milk contents more closely. Because of these variations in infant formula composition and their potential impact on selenium content, this trace element was analysed with regard to the different protein sources. The aims of this study were to determine the selenium content in infant formulae sold commercially in Spain, to estimate a daily dietary intake for infants fed on formulae and to compare with the selenium provided by Spanish breast milk samples used as a reference. We have also identified certain trace elements added to formulae which interact with selenium according to the type and protein matrix of the infant formulae. Selenium concentration was determined by inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectrometry (ICP-AES) with a hydride generator. The selenium concentrations in human milk and infant formulae determined in this study are similar to those found by other researchers in different countries. The daily selenium intake from the formulae studied was estimated according to the recommended doses from the manufacturers. The theoretical selenium intake of nursed infants has been studied in relation to the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA: 10 microg Se/day) and the specific recommendations for infant formula nutrient contents (10-35 microg Se/L) set by the Expert Panel of life Sciences Research Office (LSRO) of the American Society for Nutritional Sciences. According to our results, on an overall view, infants fed on the studied infant formulae have an intake between basal and normative requirements. This might be considered as providing an adequate selenium supply. However, the intake of setenium provided by several formulae included in this research did not reach the RDA for the first month of neonate life.
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