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Raw foods that are linked with high levels of selenium

In The News: Higher Selenium Levels Could Improve Breast Cancer Survival

Higher selenium levels linked to improved breast cancer survival; calcium and vitamin D reverse fracture risk in vegan women; Mediterranean diet improves memory and reverses markers for Alzheimer’s.

Scientifically reviewed by: Dr Gary Gonzalez, MD, on July 2021.

Higher Selenium Levels Could Improve Breast Cancer Survival

Daughter laughing with mother with higher selenium blood levels

Higher selenium blood levels are associated with improved breast cancer survival rates.*

The 10-year survival rate was 65.1% in women with the lowest selenium blood level.

The 10-year survival rate in women with the highest selenium blood levels was 86.7%.

Editor’s Note: A previous study found that higher selenium levels were linked to improved five-year survival rates in women with breast cancer. The current study included 10-year survival rates in 538 women from the prior study.

* Nutrients. 2021 Mar; 13(3):953.

Calcium and Vitamin D Lower Fracture Risk in Vegan Women

Vegan woman supplementing with calcium and vitamin d

A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that supplementation with calcium and vitamin D reduces fracture risk in vegan women, who have a higher risk of fracture than non-vegetarian women.*

Female vegans had a 53% higher risk of experiencing a hip fracture than non-vegetarians.

Vegan women who supplemented with calcium and vitamin D reduced their hip fracture risk to that of non-vegetarians.

Editor’s Note: Following a vegan diet may fail to provide adequate nutrients associated with greater bone mineral density, such as calcium, vitamin D, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids, thereby increasing fracture risk.

* Am J Clin Nutr. 2021 May 8.

Mediterranean Diet Protects Against Memory Loss and Dementia

Plate and bowl of Mediterranean diet linked with improved memory

A Mediterranean-style diet could protect against memory loss and dementia, a study published in the journal Neurology reported.*

The 512 participants, with an average age of 70, completed food frequency questionnaires. They were then given MRI brain scans to determine brain volume, and neurological tests to examine their cognitive abilities and biomarkers for beta amyloid and tau proteins that characterize Alzheimer’s disease.

People who ate an unhealthy diet had higher markers of amyloid beta and tau proteins in their cerebrospinal fluid, compared to those who followed a Mediterranean-style diet.

The unhealthy-diet eaters also performed worse on memory tests than those who ate healthy food.

Editor’s Note: Participants who did not eat a healthy, Mediterranean-style diet were also found to have a smaller hippocampus volume (the area of the brain responsible for thinking and memory) than those who did. The hippocampus is known to atrophy (shrink) in those with Alzheimer’s disease.

* Neurology. 2021;96(24):e2920-e32.