Beat Golden-Year Blues

By Kristin Bjornsen

In the last 20 years, the average life expectancy has increased 12 percent, but for our parents and grandparents living in nursing homes, a longer life may not mean a happier one. According to a recent study, one-third of nursing-home residents (median age of 82) suffer from depression. The good news: The fix may be as simple as supplementing with selenium. Researchers discovered that seniors with the lowest levels of selenium in their blood also recorded the most depression. After taking 120 mcg of selenium twice a day for eight weeks, participants in the study had elevated levels of selenium in their blood and their depression symptoms had significantly abated.

Before you start popping selenium, keep in mind that these results apply to older individuals. A study last year found that middle-aged adults who supplemented with selenium for more than seven years were at a higher risk for developing type-2 diabetes. Instead, get your recommended dietary allowance of selenium (55 mcg a day) from foods like Brazil nuts (1 oz, 544 mcg), sardines (3.75 oz, 48.5 mcg), cod (3 oz, 32 mcg), turkey (3.5 oz, 32 mcg), and barley (1 cup, 69.4 mcg).