Selenium Supplements and Mood in the Elderly

A selenium deficient diet is known to increase the risk of mood disorders including anxiety and depression. A high selenium diet or selenium supplements can reverse a selenium deficiency and also improve mood. A number of studies have investigated the effects of selenium on mood and these studies provide good evidence that both high selenium diets and selenium supplements are able to cause elevations in mood in those with low levels of selenium. For example, in one study, researchers administered a supplement of selenium, vitamin C and folate to a group of elderly nursing home residents. Selenium levels were inversely associated with depression, but no association was found for vitamin C or folate. The supplement was significantly beneficial at improving the mood of the subjects in those subjects with low levels of selenium. In addition to the improvements in mood, the subjects with low levels of selenium also had significant elevations in plasma levels of selenium following supplementation.  

selenium depression anxiety

Selenium appears to be beneficial at causing elevations in mood, but only in subjects with low levels of selenium. This indicates the selenium is correcting a deficiency, and that a low dietary intake of selenium is a causative factor in depressed mood.

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Gosney, M. A., Hammond, M. F., Shenkin, A. and Allsup, S. 2008. Effect of micronutrient supplementation on mood in nursing home residents. Gerontology. 54(5): 292-299

About Robert Barrington

Robert Barrington is a writer, nutritionist, lecturer and philosopher.
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