Posted on Jul 25, 2012, 6 a.m.
Found abundantly in Brazil nuts, higher levels of the essential trace element selenium may associate with a reduced risk of type-2 diabetes.
Selenium is an essential trace element which is necessary for growth and protein synthesis. Selenium helps to increase the effectiveness of vitamin E, and acts as an antioxidant to protect cells from free radical damage. Brazil nuts are the richest dietary source of selenium, and it is also found in organ meats, tuna, seafood, brewer's yeast, fresh garlic, mushrooms, wheat germ, and some whole grains. Kyong Park, from Yeungnam University (South Korea), and colleagues analyzed data from two separate US studies including 3,630 women and 3,535 men, of which none of the participants were diabetic at the studies’ start, documenting 780 new cases of type-2 diabetes over the course of the study. Observing that increased levels of selenium present in toenails associated with a lower risk of diabetes, the study authors commented that: "At dietary levels of intake, individuals with higher toenail [selenium] levels are at lower risk for [type-2 diabetes].”
Kyong Park, Eric B. Rimm, David S. Siscovick, Donna Spiegelman, JoAnn E. Manson, J. Steven Morris,et al. “Toenail Selenium and Incidence of Type 2 Diabetes in U.S. Men and Women.” Diabetes Care, July 2012; 35:1544-1551.