Selenium is an important antioxidant and trace mineral. It is also a constituent of more than two dozen selenoproteins, which play critical roles in reproduction, thyroid hormone metabolism and DNA synthesis, among others, as previously noted. Here Tim Newman, MedicalNewsToday.com, reflects on whether increased selenium intake can reduce the risk of osteoporosis, fact checked by Carolyn Robertson:
“Throughout life, the body continuously breaks down bone, reabsorbs it, and remakes it. In osteoporosis, the reforming of bone cannot keep up with the rate of bone breakdown.
This process means that, over time, bones become weaker and more prone to fracture. Osteoporosis predominantly affects older adults, and, globally, an estimated 200 millionTrusted Source people have osteoporosis.
The condition affects roughly 1 in 3 females over 50 years of age, while 1 in 5 males will have fractures that osteoporosis relates to during their lifetime.
There are some risk factors for osteoporosis that people cannot avoid, such as advancing age and sex. But experts have also identified some modifiable risk factors, for instance, smoking tobacco and drinking alcohol increase the risk.
Scientists also believe that dietary factors might play a part. To date, most research looking at nutrition and osteoporosis has concentrated on calciumTrusted Source because of its pivotal role in bone health.
The authors of the most recent study, however, believe that other micronutrients could influence osteoporosis risk. They decided to focus on selenium. The scientists published their results in the journal BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders.
What is selenium?
Selenium is a trace mineral that is essential for human health. It plays a part in many systems of the body and is present in a wide range of foods, including fish, shellfish, red meat, grains, eggs, chicken, liver, and garlic.
Although a handful of earlier studies have looked at selenium’s impact on osteoporosis, the evidence has not been conclusive.
To address this gap in our knowledge, the latest researchers took data from 6,267 participants who visited the Department of Health Examination Centre of Xiangya Hospital, Central South University, China.
Registered nurses engaged with all participants and collated information about their lifestyles and demographics. All participants were 40 years of age or older and completed detailed food frequency questionnaires.
Importantly, the scientists also took note of other parameters that can influence osteoporosis, such as drinking, smoking status, body mass index (BMI), and level of physical activity.”
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