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J Nutr. 2006 Jan;136(1):172-6.

Low serum selenium and total carotenoids predict mortality among older women living in the community: the women's health and aging studies.

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The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore, MD, USA.


Selenium and the carotenoids play an important role in antioxidant defenses and in the redox regulation involved in inflammation. We tested the hypothesis that low selenium and carotenoids predict mortality in older women living in the community. Women who were enrolled in the Women's Health and Aging Studies I and II in Baltimore, MD (n = 632; 70-79 y old) had serum selenium and carotenoids measured at baseline and were followed for mortality over 60 mo. Median (minimum, maximum) serum selenium and carotenoids were 1.53 (0.73, 2.51) micromol/L and 1.67 (0.13, 9.10) micromol/L; 14.1% of the women died. The 5 major causes of death were heart disease (32.6%), cancer (18.0%), stroke (9.0%), infection (6.7%), and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (5.6%). Adjusting for age, education, smoking, BMI, poor appetite, and chronic diseases, higher serum selenium [hazard ratio (HR) 0.71, 95% CI 0.56-0.90/1 SD increase in log(e) selenium; P = 0.005] and higher serum total carotenoids (HR 0.77, 95% CI 0.64-0.84/1 SD increase in log(e) total carotenoids; P = 0.009) were associated with a lower risk of mortality. Women living in the community who have higher serum selenium and carotenoids are at a lower risk of death.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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