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Lack of This Mineral Linked to Increased Anemia Risk

According to a study published in the January 2009 issue of the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition low levels of selenium may increase the risk of anemia in older adults.

Anemia is a common blood disorder characterized by a lack of hemoglobin in red blood cells. Hemoglobin is responsible for carrying oxygen from your lungs to tissues throughout your body.

For the study, researchers from the Johns Hopkins Medical Institute and the National Institute on Aging analyzed data from 2,092 adults taking part in the third National Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III). All those studied were over the age of 65.

Blood samples were used to identify selenium levels and the rate of anemia among participants. According the World Health Organization, anemia is defined as less than 12 grams of hemoglobin per deciliter (g/dL) of blood for women and 13 g/dL for men.

The researchers found that participants with the lowest levels of selenium were over 11% more likely to be anemic when compared to those with the highest levels. They also found that participants with anemia had lower levels of selenium than those without the disorder.

This study adds to a growing body of evidence showing that selenium may have far ranging health benefits.

Just last month a study published in the American Heart Journal showed that selenium may provide cardiovascular benefits by boosting levels of a key antioxidant. Another study, published in the November 2008 issue of the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that selenium may decrease the risk of metabolic syndrome.

Previous studies have also linked Selenium to lower risk of age-related cognitive decline and better immune system function.
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