Selenium helps prevent age related cognitive decline
New research from France shows that Selenium levels decrease as we grow older and this is tied into a loss of cognitive function. Cognitive function includes processes such as memory and comprehension, decision-making, and the ability to learn and even socialize. One cause of a decline in cognitive function is oxidative stress; this is caused by free radicals. Selenium is both an antioxidant which soaks up free radicals and it improves Glutathione activity; a major protective antioxidant enzyme in the brain.
The researchers studied 1,389 people for 9 years with 6 additional examinations checking their selenium levels and cognitive function/decline. The participants were between 60 and 71 years of age at the start of the study. The researchers found that those who lost the most selenium with age had a greater level of cognitive decline. If the level of selenium increased, those who had smaller increases lost more brain function than those with larger increases of selenium. The study appears in the January 2007 issue of the journal Epidemiology.