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Optimal Level of Selenium Linked to Decrease in Depressive Symptoms

Selenium is a trace mineral that plays a key role in metabolism, reproduction, DNA synthesis and protection from oxidative damage. A recent study suggests that maintaining the optimal levels of selenium may help improve mood and be associated with a lower risk of depressive symptoms in young adults.

Participants in the study included 978 people between the ages of 17 and 25 who recorded their negative and positive mood every day for 13 days, using an Internet diary. The researchers also examined serum selenium concentrations using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry.

The researchers found that the selenium intake associated with the lowest occurrence of depressive symptoms were between 82 and 85 micrograms per day. They also discovered that the association was “U shaped,” meaning participants with the lowest and highest average levels exhibited noticeably higher depressive symptoms than those in the middle range.

Researchers from the Nutrition and Metabolism Center at the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute conducted the study. It was published on November 5, 2014, in The Journal of Nutrition.

Selenium is an essential mineral that works as an antioxidant. Previous studies have shown that maintaining sufficient levels of selenium is important for reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and immune dysfunction.

Selenium is also the only mineral the FDA has approved for a qualified health claim for general cancer reduction incidence.

Some foods rich in selenium are Brazil nuts, mushrooms, garlic, sunflower seeds, walnuts, raisins, pork and fish.

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