Selenium Supplementation and Alzheimer’s Disease

Clinical studies show a clear correlation between Alzheimer’s Disease and low selenium status.  Lower selenium status is associated with worse cognitive decline [Aaseth 2016].

In many regions of Europe and the Middle East, there is poor selenium content in the soil and, accordingly, lower intake of selenium from food sources [Stoffaneller & Morse 2015; Winther 2020].

Woman with Alzheimer's
Adequate levels of selenium are essential for brain function; in fact, the brain is one of the organs that is supplied with selenium at the expense of other organs and tissues in times of low selenium intake. Selenoprotein P plays a special role in delivering selenium to the brain and the neurons. Some of the glutathione peroxidase and thioredoxin reductase selenoenzymes are important intracellular antioxidants in neurons and glia cells of the central nervous system.

The daily intake of selenium from food in many European countries is well below the amount needed for optimal function of important selenoproteins. The needed intake of selenium from food is  estimated to be at least 105 mcg per day [Winther 2020, fig. 2].

Using evidence from human studies in various countries, Prof. Jan Aaseth and colleagues have documented the association between lower selenium  status and Alzheimer’s Disease and/or cognitive impairment [Aaseth 2016]. read more

Selenium and Viruses and Viral Infections

Viruses are very tiny germs that consist of genetic material (DNA or RNA) inside a protein coating. Unlike bacteria, viruses cannot survive on their own. They need host cells [MedlinePlus 2016].

When viruses invade the body, they hijack human cells and use the cells to reproduce themselves. The host immune system attempts to fight off the invasive viruses. If the immune system defense is not successful, then various viruses cause such infections as the common cold, influenza, and warts. Other viruses cause severe illnesses such as COVID-19, Ebola, and HIV/AIDS [MedlinePlus 2016].
Antibiotics are not effective against viruses. For some few viral infections, there are effective antiviral medicines. For others, vaccines may be an option. In any case, it is important to have a strong immune system to ward off or recover from viral infections.

Harmful free radicals play an important role in viral infections. The cells’ normal metabolism of oxygen generates reactive oxygen species as a by-product. At low and stable levels, these “free radicals” play a role in cell signaling and cell functioning. In the course of viral infections, however, the over-production of free radicals can overwhelm the body’s protective antioxidant systems and can cause oxidative stress [Guillen 2019]. read more