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Meta-analysis concludes benefits for selenium supplementation in cognitively impaired individuals

Meta-analysis concludes benefits for selenium supplementation in cognitively impaired individualsAugust 15 2022. A systematic review and meta-analysis published on August 5, 2022, in Nutrients found that supplementing with selenium was associated with improved levels of the mineral and the antioxidant enzyme glutathione peroxidase, as well as better cognitive function among patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or Alzheimer disease (AD).

“For the first time, our study demonstrated, through a systematic review and meta-analysis, the possible benefits of selenium supplementation on selenium levels in patients with MCI or AD, as well as on markers of oxidative stress and on cognitive test performance,” Meire Ellen Pereira and colleagues wrote.

For their review, the researchers selected 11 controlled studies that examined the effects of selenium supplementation, alone or in combination with other nutrients, among patients with mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer disease. Six of these studies were included in the meta-analysis.

Among studies that evaluated the effects of selenium without other nutrients, selenium measured in plasma, serum, red blood cells or cerebrospinal fluid increased among participants who received the mineral while remaining essentially the same or lower in the control groups. The meta-analysis determined that supplementing with selenium increased selenium levels by an average of 4 times in plasma, 1.88 times in serum, 3.73 times in red blood cells and 2.18 times in cerebrospinal fluid.

Studies of selenium supplementation alone that measured glutathione peroxidase revealed a significant increase in the enzyme in association with selenium supplementation. Scores of all cognitive function tests improved in groups that received selenium alone and for two of the tests completed by those who received selenium with other nutrients.  

“Selenium supplementation is a good alternative for alleviating some of the symptoms of Alzheimer disease and mild cognitive impairment, such as decreased selenium levels and glutathione peroxidase activity, and cognitive deficits,” Pereira and her associates concluded.

—D Dye

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