Selenium Could Shield Older Men From DiabetesFriday, March 19, 2010
Selenium Could Shield Older Men From Diabetes
By Mike Boyle
Scientists from the University of Montpellier in France have found evidence that older men with higher levels of selenium are less likely to suffer from dysglycemia, or improper blood-sugar metabolism.
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), "selenium is a trace mineral that is essential to good health but required only in small amounts. Selenium is incorporated into proteins to make selenoproteins, which are important antioxidant enzymes. The antioxidant properties of selenoproteins help prevent cellular damage from free radicals. Free radicals are natural by-products of oxygen metabolism that may contribute to the development of chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease. Other selenoproteins help regulate thyroid function and play a role in the immune system."
BusinessWeek.com says the researchers studied 1,162 French adults for nine years, checking their levels of selenium and monitoring whether they developed blood-sugar problems.
According to their report, published online in the journal Nutrition & Metabolism, elderly men whose selenium concentrations were in the top one-third had a significantly lower risk.
Researchers could not put their finger on the reason they observed a protective effect of selenium in men but not in women, but said it might be attributed to women being "healthier at baseline, having better antioxidant status in general and possible differences in how men and women process selenium."