Dementia is a complex disease that results from neurodegeneration and cognitive decline. In the 21st century, preventing cognitive impairment is seen as a major challenge, with mounting evidence showing that food plays a protective role against it. In some cases, vitamin deficiencies also have detrimental effects on the brain, particularly the lack of selenium and vitamin E.

According to Express, around 76% of adults in the UK experience selenium deficiency that is often linked to a number of diseases, including Alzheimer's disease. But could taking supplements rich in selenium help prevent cognitive decline?

 Around 76% of Adults Deficient in This Mineral Often Associated With Dementia; Can Selenium Slow Cognitive Decline?
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Around 76% of Adults Deficient in This Mineral Often Associated With Dementia; Can Selenium Slow Cognitive Decline?

Selenium Deficiency Linked to Dementia

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), selenium is a nutrient needed to stay healthy. It is crucial for reproduction, thyroid gland, DNA production, immune system, and brain health. The average daily recommended amounts of selenium are based on the age of the person.

The lack of such minerals in the body is linked to a number of diseases, like delay in growth, muscle weakness, and could thwart cognitive functions.

As Express reported, many adults in the UK are chronically deficient in selenium. Around 76% of them fall below the recommended intake, but not young children.

A growing body of research suggests that selenium deficiency could affect cognitive health and that selenium may protect the brain against decline. Studies show that eating six Brazil nuts a day, a food rich in selenium could improve memory in patients with Alzheimer's. Other sources of selenium also include brown rice, fish, sunflower seeds, and whole oats.

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Selenium Supplementation Not Recommended

 Despite some evidence showing that eating foods rich in selenium could help prevent cognitive decline, researchers claim that selenium supplementation is unlikely to benefit those with sufficient selenium levels in their bodies. Overdoing supplementation could lead to undesirable effects that might lead to death.

Furthermore, a 2017 study, titled "Association of Antioxidant Supplement Use and Dementia in the Prevention of Alzheimer's Disease by Vitamin E and Selenium Trial (PREADViSE)," published in JAMA Neurology, found no evidence that antioxidant supplements like vitamin E and selenium could prevent dementia.

Harvard Health Publishing reported that participants in the study were given the supplements, routinely checked for cognitive problems, and encouraged to visit their doctor if they displayed any cognitive impairment. At the end of the study, only 4.4% of the participants had developed dementia and showed no difference in dementia rates between the groups.

Researchers noted that the findings could vary depending on the factors, such as the duration and changes in dosage of the supplements. They recommend further additional research to study the effect of selenium supplements on cognitive health.

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