Low Selenium causes weak muscles in the hips, knees, and hands in those over 65 years-of-age

August 27, 2007

Researchers have found that in a group of 891 adults aged 65 and up, those with the lowest blood levels of the mineral Selenium had poor muscle strength around the hips, knees, and hands. Selenium plays an important role in muscle function including the heart muscle and selenium is needed for creating muscle and repairing it, In fact studies now link muscle diseases, genetic muscle defects, and muscular dystrophies to poor use of or low levels of Selenium.

Those seniors in the bottom 25% of selenium levels were at much greater risk of having weak muscles when it came to hand grip strength, the ability to move the hip, and the ability to extend the knees vs. those in the top 25% of blood selenium levels.

The researchers were from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, the National Institute on Aging in Baltimore, and Azienda Sanitaria Firenze in Florence. The study is published in the August 2007 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Commentary by Jerry Hickey, R.Ph. - studies have shown that Selenium helps lower the risk of a number of cancers, helps protect the liver and improves detoxification, helps fight prostate cancer in conjunction with Vitamin E and/or a multiple-vitamin, lowers the risk of certain types of hepatitis-liver infections, and is needed for proper heart function. A series of studies has shown that older women who eat a well balanced diet frequently do not obtain enough selenium and a separate study published around the same time shows that women with lower levels of Selenium have an increased risk of dying from various common causes such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and lung infections and the higher the level of Selenium the lower the risk of dying from these conditions during the study period. Mixed antioxidants that include Vitamins E, C, Beta-Carotene with the Minerals Zinc and Selenium have been shown to significantly lower the risk of developing cancer or dying from any cause in men. Selenium is needed for good thyroid function, antioxidant defense, immune function, protecting the brain, and proper disposal of pesticides, xenoestrogens, and many other toxins. Selenium levels are declining in the populations of many countries making people more vulnerable to lung infection and asthma, heart disease and death due to cardiovascular disease, a group of cancers, brain damage, and infertility.

Low blood levels of Vitamin D leads to rectal cancer in this population

In a study of 38,373 Japanese subjects, those who developed rectal cancer had significantly lower levels of active Vitamin D in their blood than those without. Having lower levels of Vitamin D increased the risk of rectal cancer by 460 % in Japanese men and 270 % in Japanese women. The study is published in the July 2007 issue of the British Journal of Cancer.

Commentary by Jerry Hickey, R.Ph. - regardless of the site in the lower digestive tract, in some ethnic groups' lower blood levels of active Vitamin D leads to colon cancer, in some apparently just rectal cancer, and in some apparently both colon and rectal cancers. Also, having adequate calcium in addition to Vitamin D seems to be even more protective of digestive tract cancers.