Selenium supplementation as a treatment for mild-moderate depression in the elderly



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Texas Tech University


Prior to the elucidation of selenium's role in the action of glutathione peroxidase in 1973, the majority of the research of the mineral involved the debilitative effects in its action as a pro-oxidant in ruminants. Since this time, most research has focused on the antioxidative capabilities of this mineral/enzyme. Minimal contributions of the role of selenium in the brain and nervous system have been presented in the scientific literature. Those studies which do attempt to establish a connection a benefit of selenium to healthy brain and nervous system functioning do so by examining the effects of nutrition as a whole in conditions and populations severely affected by neurological disease such as a Alzheimer's disease in the elderly.

This dissertation examines the role of selenium on depression in the elderly. The subjects were randomly separated into two treatment groups examining two selenium compounds and a control group. The treatment period lasted a total of seven weeks and psychological measures in the form of the Beck Depression Inventory II (BDI-II) were given at the beginning and terminus of the study. Biological measures were made in the form of total plasma selenium concentration. With positive correlations, selenium compounds may be a cost-effective and safer treatment options for elderly people with mild to moderate depression.



Selenium -- Physiological effect, Depression in old age -- Treatment, Selenium in human nutrition, Selenium -- Psychotropic effects, Selenium -- Therapeutic use -- Effectiveness