Written by Greg Arnold, DC, CSCS. Researchers found that men with the highest levels of selenium had a 52% reduced risk of diabetes, compared to those with the lowest selenium levels.
Diabetes now affects 24 million Americans and costs our healthcare system $174 billion per year (1). One out of every five health care dollars is spent caring for someone with diagnosed diabetes, while one in ten health care dollars is attributed to diabetes (2). The condition comes with a number of health risks, including a 200-400% increased risk of stroke and a 200% increased overall risk of death, compared to those without diabetes of similar age. Diabetes can lead to permanent disability and numerous health complications that include heart disease, stroke, blindness, chronic kidney disease, and amputations (1).
Now a new study (2) has found that selenium may benefit blood sugar health in men. The study involved 1,162 patients aged 59 to 71 participating in The Epidemiology of Vascular Aging study (3). They provided blood samples first thing in the morning (called “fasting blood glucose”) before the study began and then at 2, 4, and 9 years into the study.
By with the end of the 9-year study, the average selenium levels in men and women were 1.08 and 1.10 micromoles/Liter, respectively. While the researchers found no blood sugar benefits of selenium in women, men with the highest levels of selenium (1.19-1.97 micromol/L) had a 52% reduced risk of diabetes, compared to those with the lowest selenium levels (0.18-1.00 micromol/L). When they further controlled for lifestyle factors, cardiovascular diseases, body mass index (BMI), high blood pressure, the reduced risk was 50%, although no benefits seen in women.
For the researchers, “This prospective study suggests a sex-specific protective effect of higher selenium [blood levels on blood sugar health].” As with all uncontrolled studies, it is possible that other factors could be responsible for the benefits found.
Source: “Plasma selenium and risk of dysglycemia in an elderly French population: Results from the prospective Epidemiology of Vascular Aging Study” printed online in Nutrition and Metabolism. Posted May 4, 2010.
Greg Arnold is a Chiropractic Physician practicing in Hauppauge, NY.
- Number of People with Diabetes Continues to Increase” from the CDC Website.
- Akbaraly TN. Plasma selenium and risk of dysglycemia in an elderly French population: Results from the prospective Epidemiology of Vascular Ageing Study. Nutrition & Metabolism, 2010; (in press)
- Berr C, Coudray C, Bonithon-Kopp C, Roussel AM, Mainard F, Alperovitch A: Demographic and cardiovascular risk factors in relation to antioxidant status: the EVA Study. Int J Vitam Nutr R es 1998, 68 :26-35.