Monday, March 13, 2006

Are you getting enough selenium for your joints?

If your knees are giving you problems, the answer may be to supplement with selenium. Scientists at the University of North Carolina have discovered that a lack of selenium is associated with arthritis of the knee. This is especially true for women and African-Americans.

Researchers analyzed the toenail clippings of 940 people and took x-rays of their knees to determine the extent of their arthritis. They found that individuals with the highest selenium levels cut their risk of osteoarthritis in the knees by 40 percent compared with those who had the lowest levels of the mineral. In addition, participants with the highest selenium levels also reduced the severity of their disease by half.

Selenium can be found in abundance in Brazil nuts, and also in bread, fish, and meat. Fruit and vegetables also contain the mineral, but the amount of selenium depends on the soil in which the produce is grown. In the U.S., selenium is highly concentrated in the soil of only six states: North and South Dakota, Utah, Colorado, Montana, and Wyoming. So the rest of us probably need to supplement to get a "leg up" on osteoarthritis.

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