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Selenium Supplements Could Increase Diabetes Risk

ted having type 2 diabetes when the study started.

The study mainly focused on selenium and cancer. The researchers also tracked new cases of type 2 diabetes, since experiments on animals had suggested that selenium supplements might help prevent type 2 diabetes.

The researchers randomly split participants into two groups.

One group was assigned to take selenium supplements in a daily dose of 200 micrograms.

Thats higher than the Institute of Medicine's recommended dietary intake of 55 micrograms per day of selenium for men and for women who aren't pregnant or breastfeeding. But it's lower than the Institute of Medicine's upper limit of 400 micrograms of selenium per day.

For comparison, the other group took placebo pills containing no selenium. Participants didnt know whether they were taking the selenium supplements or the placebo.

Participants were followed for nearly eight years, on average. During that time, they reported any new diabetes diagnoses and got their blood levels of selenium checked twice yearly.

During the study, 58 participants in the selenium group reported being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, compared with 39 people taking the placebo.

The possible link between type 2 diabetes and selenium supplementation held when the researchers considered participants' age, sex, BMI (body mass index, which relates height to weight), and smoking habits.

But the study had a pretty narrow group of participants -- older adults with a history of non-melanoma skin cancer -- and wasn't designed with diabetes in mind. So further studies are needed to see if selenium supplements truly raise diabetes risk, note the researchers.

In an accompanying editorial, Dr. Eliseo Guallar from Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, agrees that selenium seems to offer few benefits and at high l
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