Selenium is a mineral that helps the immune system battle viruses, may help with fertility in men and women, and is good for brain function.
And as Christi Paul reports, it may also play a role in the development of type 2 diabetes.
A new study out of france finds that men with higher selenium levels were less likely to develop blood sugar problems and type two diabetes as they aged. But before you rush out to buy the supplement, it appears that the levels of selenium in european foods may differ from what we find on american tables.
The role of selenium in the onset of diabetes is controversial. Several studies have actually found high levels raise the risk for diabetes.
So why did the european study seem to come to the opposite conclusion?
People in Europe generally have lower levels of selenium in their diets than Americans, because their foods are often grown in soils less rich in the mineral. According to the European studies' authors, the men in the study may have been protected from the onset of type two diabetes because they were getting what is considered a healthy amount of selenium in their diets.
The study authors say there is no need for healthy Americans -- men or women -- to take selenium supplements. Most Americans get the proper amount in their diets and too much may be harmful.
The bottom line, continue to eat a healthy diet and if you are concerned about your selenium levels, check with your doctor.
For today's health minute, i'm Christi Paul.