According to recent research adding selenium to the diet may prevent obesity and also gives metabolic benefits (including diet-induced obesity) to mice. These findings were published in eLife.

What is Selenium?

Selenium is a mineral, can be found in water, some foods, and soil. It helps to make many body processes function properly. Most of the selenium found in the body gets from the diet. Fish, poultry, crab, beef liver, and wheat are common sources of selenium.

A Study Says Methionine-Restricted Diets Increase the Healthspan in Mice

The study recommended that the effects of methionine restriction on healthspan are possibly conserved in humans. Some people may follow methionine restriction. For example, adopting a vegan diet which is not desirable for everybody. In the recent study, researchers from the Orentreich Foundation for the Advancement of Science (OFAS), Cold Spring, New York dedicated to creating an invention that produces similar effects as methionine restriction, while also permitting a person to eat a normal or unrestricted diet.

Earlier studies showed that selenium supplementation decreases the levels of circulating IGF-1 in mice, recommending that this could be best for candidates.

The researchers first examined whether selenium supplementation provided similar protection against obesity as methionine restriction. They gave young male and older female rats one of three high-diets and a controlled diet comprising typical amounts of methionine along with a selenium supplement. 

For both male and female rats of any age, the scientists observed that selenium supplements helped protect against weight gain completely and fat accumulation found in rats were allowed to follow the control diet and to the same level as restricting methionine.

Further, scientists examined the effects of three different diets on physiological changes generally linked with methionine restriction. To follow this, they examined the amounts of four metabolic markers in blood samples from the earlier tested mice. As they expected, they discovered dramatically decreased levels of IDF-1 in both male and female rats. They also saw the levels of the hormone leptin reduced, which helps control food intake and energy expenditure.

Scientists also noticed reductions in the levels of the hormone leptin, which also regulates energy expenditure and food intake. Their outcomes show that selenium supplementation produces the most, and this intervention has the same positive effect on healthspan.

To understand the beneficial effects of selenium supplementation, the scientists utilized a different organism i.e yeast. The two most commonly used measurements of healthspan in yeast are known as chronological lifespan, which explains to us how long-dormant yeast survive viably and replicates lifespan, and also analyzes the number of times a yeast cell can produce a new family.

In the previous study, the team showed that methionine restriction extends the chronological lifespan of yeast. Therefore, they examined whether selenium supplementation may do the same. The outcome showed yeast grown under selenium supplemented conditions contributed 62% longer chronological lifespan between 13 days to 21 days, and a replicative lifespan increased by nine generations when it is compared with controls. This demonstrates that supplementing yeasts with selenium could produce benefits to healthspan. 

The senior author Jay Johnson mentioned that “One of the major goals of aging research is to identify simple interventions that promote human health span.”

He further added, “Here we present evidence that short-term administration of either organic or inorganic sources of selenium provides multiple health benefits to mice, the most notable of which being the prevention of diet-induced obesity. In the long term, we expect that supplementation with these compounds will also prevent age-related disease and extend the overall survival of mice. It is our hope that many of the benefits observed for mice will also hold true for humans.”