Selenium in many foods could lead to heart disease .
Increased use of the mineral supplement selenium can lead to many premature deaths, researchers have warned.
Selenium is in lots of foods, like seafood, meat and vegetables. It is a popular dietary supplement as a result of its famous anti-oxidant properties.
However, Scientists at Warwick University have discovered that an excess of the mineral in the body can increase cholesterol levels by 8 per cent, and raise the likelihood of heart disease .
Study leader Dr Saverio Stranges stated that the results were causing concern due to the use of the supplements which had risen a great deal in the UK in recent years.
His team interviewed 1,042 people aged between 19 and 64 to study their diet and lifestyle prior to analysis of blood samples.
Those participants with the highest levels of selenium in their blood had an average total cholesterol level increase of 8 per cent.
48 per cent of those who had the highest selenium levels admitted they regularly took dietary supplements.
However, the study did not collect information as to how often participants took the supplements or the amount they took.
Dr Stranges said: “The cholesterol increases that we have identified may have important implications for public health.
“In fact, such a difference could translate into a large number of premature deaths from coronary heart disease.”