Abstract Title:

[Selenium and zinc:"antioxidants"for healthy aging?]

Abstract Source:

Z Gerontol Geriatr. 2020 May 28. Epub 2020 May 28. PMID: 32468295

Abstract Author(s):

Holger Steinbrenner, Lars-Oliver Klotz

Article Affiliation:

Holger Steinbrenner


Selenium and zinc are essential trace elements and an inadequate dietary intake has been implicated in the decline of immune and cognitive functions in aged persons and in the pathogenesis of age-related disorders. Both micronutrients are often marketed as"antioxidants"in mineral supplements; however, neither selenium nor zinc are antioxidants per se but they may exert beneficial effects as components of enzymes and other proteins that catalyze redox reactions and/or are involved in the maintenance of redox homeostasis. According to epidemiological data older individuals have an increased risk of developing deficiencies in the selenium and zinc status; however, such statistical correlations in epidemiological studies do not imply a causal association. Intervention trials are scarce and have yielded inconsistent and sometimes even adverse results. It should also be noted that the observed deficiencies in micronutrients may not necessarily be attributable to inadequate dietary intake as the absorption and distribution within the body might also be influenced by factors such as medications or interaction with other food ingredients. Thus, any dietary supplementation should be implemented with caution and persons who wish to take mineral supplements should first seek medical advice. This article discusses the role of selenium and zinc in biological antioxidant systems, summarizes findings on the supply and supplementation of aged persons with these trace elements and on the influence they may exert on aging-related health issues, such as cognitive decline and type 2 diabetes mellitus.

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