Project Body Smart | Selenium- Good for the Heart?
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Selenium- Good for the Heart?

Research suggests there may be multiple reasons the trace mineral selenium is good for the heart.

HEALTHY SELENIUM LEVELS ARE ASSOCIATED WITH LOWER PLASMA HOMOCYSTEINE

The association of selenium status with the risk of heart disease has assumed to be due to its role in antioxidant defenses. However, in this study published in the Journal of Nutrition, research suggests another possible mechanism for selenium, which is the cooperation in the defense against high homocysteine levels.

A Spanish research team enlisted 85 men and 117 women from 14 nursing homes in Spain to determine the association between selenium and homocysteine levels in humans.

Serum folate and serum selenium levels in this group were inversely related to homocysteine concentrations, with serum selenium having a greater effect than folate. While serum folate’s relationship to homocysteine levels is well established, a similar relationship for selenium has not been shown until this study. Traditionally selenium’s benefit in heart disease has been assumed to be its antioxidant properties. This study, however, suggests an additional mechanism for selenium in cardiovascular disease prevention. Further studies are needed to confirm the benefit of selenium in lowering homocysteine.

Some of the best food sources of selenium are Brazil nuts, tuna, wheat germ, and sunflower seeds.

Full paper:
http://jn.nutrition.org/content/134/7/1736.full

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