Professor Margaret Rayman

Professor Margaret Rayman

Professor of Nutritional Medicine
+44 (0)1483 686447
18 AY 03



Professor Margaret Rayman has a doctorate in Inorganic Biochemistry from Somerville College, Oxford, and has held post-doctoral fellowships at the Institute of Cancer Research and Imperial College. Since 2007, she has been Professor of Nutritional Medicine at the University of Surrey where, in 1998, she set up, and now directs, the highly respected MSc Programme in Nutritional Medicine. In 2014, she was appointed Visiting Professor at the First Affiliated Hospital Xi'an Jiaotong University School of Medicine, Xi'an, China.

Her research, which includes a number of randomised controlled trials, centres on the importance of trace elements to human health with particular emphasis on selenium and iodine in populations with marginal selenium or iodine deficiency. She has published widely on the effects of selenium on human health including a number of highly cited reviews in The Lancet. As part of her extensive work on iodine, her group found a significant association between mild-to-moderate iodine deficiency in UK pregnant women of the ALSPAC cohort and poorer IQ and reading ability in the offspring at ages 8 and 9 (Lancet 2013).

She has been a judge for the BBC Radio 4 Food and Farming Awards on a number of occasions. She has produced a very successful evidence-based cookbook entitled “Healthy eating: the prostate care cookbook”, translated into three languages. Her most recent book, aimed at helping the public to reduce the risk of dementia, is based on similar evidence-based principles. Entitled “Healthy eating to reduce the risk of dementia”, it was published in January 2015.

Research interests

Since returning from a lengthy career gap (20-years out of research), my work, has focused on trace elements of importance to health, most notably selenium and iodine (see selected publications below). I am interested in:

  • the effect of low selenium status on- the risk of hypertensive conditions of pregnancy, most notably pre-eclampsia;- thyroid function and auto-immune thyroid disease;- the risk of type-2 diabetes;- plasma lipids
  • the effect of iodine status in pregnancy on cognitive, auditory and psychomotor development in the child and on pregnancy outcome.

Research collaborations

I currently collaborate with academics at some 20 other universities and research institutes throughout the world.


  • BSc degree programmes including Nutrition, Nutrition & Dietetics, Nutrition & Food Science: lecture topics include selenium, iodine and manganese.
  • MSc Human Nutrition - I lecture on selenium and human health.
  • MSc Nutritional Medicine - My major contribution to teaching in the University has been the creation of the very successful Nutritional Medicine post-graduate programme, the first (and still unique) university-level, evidence-based course designed for the in-service training of doctors and other health professionals in the use of nutritional methods of disease prophylaxis and management.

The Programme, of which I am Director, has now been running for 11 years during which time it has been extremely successful, achieving a high profile and excellent reputation. We draw a considerable number of students from Europe and from countries as far away as China, Canada and South Africa. Currently there are 145 registered part-time students, the majority of whom are practising clinicians, including consultants, and a substantial number of gastroenterologists.

  • I organise a number of MSc Nutritional Medicine modules and lecture not just on selenium and iodine, but also on the like between diet and pre-eclampsia, osteoarthritis, prostate cancer and dementia.
  • You can read the menu for "Trace Elements Dinner" which forms part of the learning experience on the “Dietary Minerals in Health and Disease” module.

You can find information on Nutritional Medicine here.

Departmental duties


  • Registered Nutritionist (professional qualification of The Nutrition Society)
  • Active member of the Nutrition Society
  • Member of Council of the Nutrition Society from 2007-2010
  • Member of the UK Iodine Group

My publications



  • Margaret Rayman, Kay Gibbons and Kay Dilley. Healthy Eating: The Prostate Care Cookbook; Kyle Cathie Ltd, with The Prostate Cancer Research Foundation, London 2009.


    View/Purchase the book on Amazon

  • Margaret Rayman and Alison Callaghan. Nutrition and Arthritis. Blackwell Publishing Ltd, Oxford, August 2006; 280 pages. ISBN 1405124180; ISBN13: 9781405124188

View/Purchase the book on Amazon

Book Chapter

  • Rayman MP. (2012) 'Selenium and adverse conditions of human pregnancy'. in Hatfield DL, Berry MJ, Gladyshev VN (eds.) Selenium: Its molecular biology and role in human health3rd Edition. Springer Article number 42 , pp. 531-546. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4614-1025-6 CHAPTER
  • Rayman MP. (2010) 'Selenium'. in Milner JA JA, Romagnolo DF (eds.) Bioactive Compounds and CancerSpringer Article number 19 , pp. 411-448. doi: 10.1007/978-1-60761-627-6 CHAPTER
  • Bath SC, Rayman MP. Minerals and vitamins of current concern - Iodine. Chapter 26, Public Health Nutrition, 3rd Edition, Editors: Professor Judith Buttriss, Dr John Kearney, Dr Ailsa Welch. Nutrition Society textbook series (in press).

Selected peer-reviewed publications

  • Rayman MP, Combs GF Jr, Waters D. Selenium and Vitamin E Supplementation for Cancer Prevention. JAMA. 2009;(301):1876 (doi:10. 1001/jama.2009.645).
  • Rayman MP. Selenoproteins in human health: insights from epidemiological data. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2009 Mar 25. [Epub ahead of print]
  • Bekaert B, Rayman MP. Plasma selenium concentration and prostate cancer risk. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 Apr;89(4):1276-7. Epub 2009 Feb 11.
  • Cooper ML, Adami H-O, Grönberg H, Wiklund F, Green FR, Rayman MP. Interaction between SNPs in selenoprotein P and mitochondrial superoxide dismutase determines prostate cancer risk. Cancer Res 2008 Dec 15;68(24):10171-7.
  • Bekaert B, Cooper ML, Green FR, McNulty H, Pentieva K, Scott JM, Molloy AM, Rayman MP. Effect of selenium status and supplementation with high-selenium yeast on plasma homocysteine and B vitamin concentrations in the UK elderly. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2008 Aug 6. [Epub ahead of print]
  • Bath S, Walter A, Taylor A, Rayman M. Iodine status of UK women of childbearing age. J Hum Nutr Diet. 2008 Jul 15;21(4):379-380.
  • Rayman MP, Pattison DJ. Dietary manipulation in musculoskeletal conditions. Best Pract Res Clin Rheumatol. 2008 Jun;22(3):535-61.
  • Rayman MP. Food-chain selenium and human health: emphasis on intake. Br J Nutr. 2008 Aug;100(2):254-68. Epub 2008 Mar 18.
  • Rayman MP, Infante HG, Sargent M. Food-chain selenium and human health: spotlight on speciation. Br J Nutr. 2008 Aug;100(2):238-53. Epub 2008 Mar 18.
  • Rayman MP, Thompson AJ, Bekaert B, Catterick J, Galassini R, Hall E, Warren-Perry M, Beckett GJ. Randomized controlled trial of the effect of selenium supplementation on thyroid function in the elderly in the United Kingdom. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 Feb;87(2):370-8.
  • Shaheen S, Newson R, Rayman M, Wong A, Tumilty M, Phillips J, Potts J, Kelly F, White P, Burney P (2007) Randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of selenium supplementation in adult asthma. Thorax 62: 483-90.
  • Goenaga Infante H, O'Connor G, Rayman M, Hearn R, Cook K (2006) Simultaneous identification of selenium-containing glutathione species in selenised yeast by on-line HPLC with ICP-MS and electrospray ionisation quadrupole time of flight (QTOF)-MS/MS. J Anal At Spectrom, 21: 1256 - 1263.
  • Rayman MP, Thompson A, Warren-Perry M, Galassini R, Catterick J, Bliss J, Hall E, Lawrence D (2006) Impact of selenium on mood and quality of life: a randomised controlled trial. Biol Psychiatry; 59:147-54.
  • Rayman MP (2005) Selenium in cancer prevention: a review of the evidence and mechanism of action. Proc Nutr Soc 64: 527-542.
  • Goenaga Infante H, O'Connor G, Rayman M, Wahlen R, Spallholz J, Hearn R, Catterick T (2005) Identification of water-soluble g-glutamyl-Se-methylselenocysteine in yeast-based selenium supplements by reversed-phase HPLC with ICP-MS and electrospray tandem MS detection. J Anal Atom Spectrom 20, 864 - 870.
  • Goenaga Infante H, O'Connor G, Rayman M, Wahlen R, Spallholz J, Hearn R, Catterick T (2005) Identification of water-soluble g-glutamyl-Se-methylselenocysteine in yeast-based selenium supplements by reversed-phase HPLC with ICP-MS and electrospray tandem MS detection. J Anal Atom Spectrom 20, 864 - 870.
  • Rayman MP (2004) The use of high-selenium yeast to raise selenium status: how does it measure up? British Journal of Nutrition 92: 557-573.
  • Heidi Goenaga Infante, Gavin O'Connor, Margaret Rayman, Raimund Wahlen, John Entwisle, Paul Norris, Ruth Hearn and Tim Catterick (2004) Selenium speciation analysis of selenium-enriched supplements by HPLC with ultrasonic nebulisation ICP-MS and electrospray MS/MS detection. J Anal Atom Spectrom. 19, 1529 - 1538.
  • Rayman MP, Bode P, Redman CWG (2004) Low selenium is associated with the occurrence of preeclampsia in women from the United Kingdom. Letter to the editor. Am J Obs Gynecol 191: 676-7.
  • Larsen EH, Hansen M, Paulin H, Moesgaard S, Reid M, Rayman MP (2004) Speciation and bioavailability of selenium in yeast-based intervention agents used in cancer chemo-prevention studies. Journal of Association of Official Analytical Chemists International 87: 225-32.
  • Rayman MP, Bode P, Redman CWG (2003) Low selenium status is associated with the occurrence of the pregnancy disease preeclampsia in UK women. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology 189: 1343-9.
  • Rayman MP (2002) The argument for increasing selenium intake. Proc Nutr Soc, 61: 203-215. Rayman MP, Barlis J, Evans RW, Redman CWG, King LJ (2002) Abnormal iron parameters in the pregnancy syndrome pre-eclampsia. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology 187: 412-8.
  • MP Rayman, Dietary selenium: time to act, BMJ, 314, 387-388 (1997).
  • MP Rayman (2000) The importance of selenium to human health. Lancet; 356: 233-241.
  • Abou-Shakra FR, Rayman MP, Ward NI, Hotton V, Bastien G, Enzymatic digestion for the determination of trace elements in blood serum by Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry, J Anal At Spectrom, 12, 4229-433 (1997).
  • Rayman MP, Abou-Shakra FR, Ward NI. Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry, J. Anal. At. Spectrom. 11, 61-68 (1996).
  • Rayman MP, Abou-Shakra FR, Ward NI, Redman CWG, Comparison of selenium levels in pre-eclamptic and normal pregnancies, Biol Trace Element Res, 55, 9-20 (1996).