Memory loss is a common problem in older adults, but new research suggests that a selenium-enriched diet may be able to reverse or slow the decline.
Due to inadequate intake, selenium deficiency impacts 500 million to 1 billion people worldwide. It is not a minor problem.
The new study found that supplementation of selenium, an essential mineral, improved memory and focus on tasks. The experiment was performed with mice, but it is also possible that humans would respond similarly to selenium supplementation.
This could be a viable option for many people for reversing memory decline and maintaining cognitive function as we age.
Selenium is an essential mineral for the thyroid and the immune system. Deficiency in this mineral has been linked to neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Huntington’s disease and can lead to weight gain, hair loss, muscle weakness, and decreased fertility.
According to this latest research, selenium— found in many foods—could reverse the cognitive impact of stroke and increase learning and memory in aging brains.
The research team looked at the power of selenium to improve memory and found that it did so by protecting brain cells from damage.
Selenium protects brain cells, supports their function, and stimulates activity in the hippocampus, an area of the brain essential for learning and memory formation.
It further promotes the production of new brain cells (neurogenesis), allowing for more significant learning and memory capacity.
The lead researcher, Dr. Tara Walker, stated that past studies showed that exercise is beneficial to an aging brain. They now realize that exercise enhances the delivery of selenium in the blood. “We’ve known for the last 20 years that exercise can create new neurons in the brain, but we didn’t really understand how,” Dr. Walker declared.
The research team analyzed whether selenium supplements could duplicate the effects of exercise. The results showed that selenium supplementation could regenerate new brain cells and improve cognitive decline in old mice.
New neuron generation is decreased in old mice, as it is in humans. When selenium supplements were given to the mice, however, the production of neurons increased. This reversed the cognitive decline seen in aging.
After a stroke, some people can experience a decline in their memory and learning abilities. So, the researchers experimented with whether selenium would help with cognitive decline after a stroke. They found that it did indeed help return these stroke-affected animals to normal.
Selenium is a trace mineral that is required by all cells in the body, but its primary role is as an antioxidant. As such, selenium has been used to prevent oxidative stress and inflammation diseases.
Selenium is a mineral that’s found in trace amounts in the human body. It can be found in small quantities in certain foods like Brazil nuts, tuna, and salmon.
This study is only an animal study, so it’s not known for sure if humans would see the same effects as mice. However, this could significantly impact future research and treatment of people with memory loss. It could also lead to new treatments for Alzheimer’s disease.
What Amount Of Selenium Is Safe To Take
According to a December 29, 2021 study, the “Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) minimum daily requirement of selenium for optimal biological functioning is 70 and 55 micrograms (mcg) per day for men and women, respectively, per April 2000 recommendations.”
Other studies consider the above amounts to be too low. They recommend 90 mcg daily for adults.
The World Health Organization said that anyone over 19 years old could safely take up to 400 micrograms per day. Anything above this will be toxic to humans.