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Originally published February 25 2007

Selenium intake prevents loss of brain function as we age

by David Gutierrez, staff writer

(NaturalNews) A person's selenium intake throughout life may influence how well they retain cognitive function as they age, according to a new study published in the "American Journal of Epidemiology."

"In this cross-sectional survey of cognitive function in rural elderly Chinese, we found that decreasing selenium levels as measured in nail sample are associated with lower cognitive scores when controlling for age, gender, education, body mass index and APOE status," said Indiana University researcher Sujuan Gao, the study's lead author.

APOE is a protein that people's bodies naturally produce in different forms. Scientists have previously discovered correlations between the form of this protein and the risk of Alzheimer's disease.

Researchers in the China study found that the difference in cognitive scores between those with the lowest selenium levels and those with the highest was equivalent to a 10-year age difference among the latter group.

Because the brain reacts differently to selenium than other parts of the body, and because the slowest-maturing sections of the brain are the first to be affected by Alzheimer's, the researchers emphasized the importance of long- over short-term selenium intake.

"Long-term exposure to selenium may be needed to impact brain function later in life," the study says.

But Gao found the results more empowering than disempowering. "Selenium exposure, unlike other factors studied for Alzheimer's disease, is a factor that is easily modifiable by changing dietary habits or through supplements," he said.

Consumer health advocate Mike Adams, author of "The Seven Laws of Nutrition," agreed.

"Selenium and other trace minerals are vital for proper functioning of the brain, heart, liver and immune system," he said. "Selenium is also an anti-cancer mineral that is strongly correlated with lower breast cancer risk."

Adams recommended Eidon mineral concentrates, particularly the Eidon Immune Support formula, as excellent sources of bioavailable selenium, zinc and other minerals. (See Eidon's website at

Adams has no financial affiliation with Eidon.

As with all trace minerals, selenium can be toxic if taken in excess, and dosage recommendations on supplements should not be exceeded.

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