Selenium and Depressed Mood in Young Adults: Too Much or Too Little?

the MPR take:

Growing evidence suggests that low selenium status may be associated with depressed mood in adult and elderly populations, although other evidence points to a link between high selenium status and depressive symptoms in younger adults. A study in the Journal of Nutrition sought to evaluate the relationship between serum selenium concentration, depressive symptoms, and daily mood states in 978 young adults ages 17–25 as part of the cross-sectional Daily Life Study in New Zealand. Participants completed a self-administered computer questionnaire on items including depressive symptoms and an online daily survey on health and well-being variables for 13 days, submitted a non-fasting blood sample, and filled out a questionnaire on current use of antidepressant medication and multivitamins on the final day of the study. Reports of depressive symptoms were lowest among selenium concentrations of 82–85µg/L but increased at <82µg/L; those with the lowest decile of serum selenium (62µg/L) reported the highest level of depressive symptoms. Greater serum selenium (especially ≥110µg/L) was also associated with an increase in depressive symptomatology, although to a lesser extent. Positive mood was seen most frequently among those with selenium decile around 79±1µg/L; below and above this, positive mood declined. Young adults should be careful to avoid consuming both too much and too little selenium for mood regulation, the authors conclude.

Background: There is evidence that low, and possibly high, selenium status is associated with depressed mood. More evidence is needed to determine whether this pattern occurs in young adults with a wide range of serum concentrations of selenium.


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