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Selenium May Help Prevent Diabetes

Diabetes is projected to become an epidemic in America over the next 10-20 years due to population growth, aging, unhealthy diets, obesity and sedentary lifestyles.

An increasing amount of research has recently been undertaken to try to prevent this epidemic. One recent study has found an association between selenium and diabetes risk.

The study was conducted by researchers with the Montpellier I University, France and published in the March 2010 issue of the journal Nutrition and Metabolism.

For the study, the researchers recruited 1,162 healthy men and women. The participants were followed for 9 years and the level of selenium in their blood was measured at the beginning of the study and at 2, 4 and 9 years.

The researchers found that male participants with the highest selenium levels had a 50% reduced risk of developing dysglycemia. Dysglycemia is an imbalance in blood sugar levels which can lead to full blown diabetes.

The researchers are unsure as to why high selenium levels seemed to protect men from dysglycemia but not women. They believe it may be due to a difference in how men and women process selenium.

Approximately 8% of the US population is currently diagnosed with diabetes (a number only expected to rise), at a cost to the US of an estimated $174 billion annually.

The best way to decrease the risk of developing diabetes is to maintain a healthy body weight, exercising regularly and following a healthy diet. It is also important to know your family’s genetic predisposition to diabetes and pay attention to common symptoms like excessive thirst, slow healing sores and frequent urination.

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