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Don’t Forget Your Selenium

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And, in point of fact, if you do forget your selenium, you might start forgetting other things as well.

That’s what some epidemiologists from Indiana University recently reported. They selected a fairly obscure village of 2,000 people in China where the people had lived their entire lives and eaten largely the same food. After analyzing hair and fingernail samples for selenium levels, the researchers ran psychological tests on intellectual function.

The conclusion: a very close correlation between low levels of selenium and lower cognitive function.

Selenium is a trace mineral, and very important in our bodies as an antioxidant. There’s also been a lot of recent evidence that selenium, along with vitamin E, can protect us against a variety of cancers and heart disease. People with the lowest levels of selenium develop more cancers, and if they have cancer are at risk for more spread or recurrence than those with normal levels.

If you’re taking a high-potency multiple vitamin and antioxidants, you’re probably getting enough selenium already. On the other hand, if you’re taking a lower quality one-a-day type multi, check the label.

You need something on the order of 50 micrograms a day (though I recommend that my patients with a high family cancer risk take 200-300 mcg daily). Brazil nuts have a whopping 100 mcg per nut. Button mushrooms are also a rich source, as is certain seafood, like red snapper, shrimp, halibut, and cod.

If you’d like to take E and selenium together, Metagenics Vitamin E-400 Selenium makes it easy. Otherwise, stick with good food choices and your high-potency multiple, making sure it contains enough selenium to keep you covered.

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