French researchers have reportedly found that older men who have high levels of selenium, an antioxidant found in liver and a variety of nuts, may be at a decreased risk of developing dysglycemia, a condition that leads to unhealthy blood sugar levels and is often a precursor for diabetes.
In the study, investigators from the University of Montpellier recruited 1,162 French men and women between the ages of 59 and 71. They regularly monitored their levels of selenium and any blood sugar problems that arose over a nine-year period.
Lead researcher Tasnime Akbaraly and her colleagues found that elderly males with selenium concentrations in the top third of the study group had a significantly lower risk of developing dysglycemia and diabetes. However, no such link was found in female participants.
"The reason we observed a protective effect of selenium in men but not in women is not completely clear, but might be attributed to women being healthier at baseline, having better antioxidant status in general and possible differences in how men and women process selenium," said Akbaraly.
She added that selenium, which can be found in many nutritional supplements, may have an effect on the body’s ability to regulate insulin levels.