A low selenium level may play a role in anemia risk

A low selenium level may play a role in anemia risk

A low selenium level may increase your risk of anemia.

In a new study reported in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers examined blood samples and data collected from more than 2,000 subjects who participated in the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

Nearly 15 percent of the subjects were found to be anemic. On average, blood levels of selenium were lowest in these anemic subjects. Likewise, prevalence of anemia was lowest among subjects with higher selenium levels.

But this type of evidence raises the question: Does low selenium contribute to anemia, or does anemia deplete stores of selenium?

The researchers have an answer for that. They note that selenium supports levels of the antioxidant enzyme glutathione, which actually protects hemoglobin. But there is no biological evidence that anemia promotes low selenium levels.

Talk to your doctor before supplementing with selenium. And before talking with your doctor, you can read about the benefits and optimal dosage of selenium in the e-Alert “Too Much of a Good Thing” (5/6/08).

“Low Selenium Levels May Increase Anaemia Risk in the Elderly” Stephen Daniells, NutraIngredients-USA, 1/14/09, nutraingredients-usa.com