Selenium Status and Mortality Risk

Mortality and morbidity. As we get older, we start to think about ways to reduce the risk of an early death. We want to reduce the risk of living out our lives in ill health.

Zion National Park in the USA
Pictured here: A creek in the Zion National Park in Utah.

We think about diet, exercise, 10,000 steps a day, hobbies, social contact. But, do we think about our selenium intake and status? Now, some large survey studies conducted in the US have shown that higher selenium status is significantly associated with lower mortality.

Each year, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) in the United States conducts surveys that focus on different population groups or health topics. This week, we present data from studies of selenium status and mortality.

Selenium Status and Type 2 Diabetes

Qiu et al examined the data from 3199 adults with type 2 diabetes. Their analysis showed that higher serum selenium concentrations are associated with lower all-cause mortality and lower heart disease mortality among individuals with type 2 diabetes [Qiu 2022]. read more

ChatGPT Answers About Different Forms of Selenium Supplements

In our last article, we asked ChatGPT about the health benefits of selenium supplements in Europe. This time, we asked what is the best form of selenium supplement?

ChatGPT about selenium
We asked ChatGPT for information about the various forms of selenium supplements.

ChatGPT answered that the best form of selenium supplement depends on various factors. These factors include individual health needs, dietary habits, and preferences. Each different form of selenium supplement has its own set of advantages and considerations.

  • Selenomethionine: This form of selenium is found in foods like Brazil nuts, grains, and legumes. The body absorbs selenomethionine well.
  • Sodium selenite: This is an inorganic form of selenium. It is generally considered to have lower bioavailability compared to organic forms like selenomethionine and selenium yeast.
  • Selenium yeast: Selenium yeast is produced by fermenting the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae in the presence of selenium. It contains various species of selenium including selenomethionine. The yeast is inactivated in the supplements.

Editor’s note: The presence of various other species of selenium in the selenium yeast may be important for cancer prevention. By other species, we mean the selenium species other than the selenomethionine that is in the selenium yeast supplements.

  • In the Nutritional Prevention of Cancer study, researchers administered 200 mcg/day of selenium-enriched yeast for an average of 5.4 years. The study results showed a significant reduction of colorectal, lung, prostate, and total cancer incidence [Clark 1996].
  • In the SELECT study, researchers administered selenium in the form of selenomethionine, 200 mcg/day. The supplementation with selenomethionine alone and also together with vitamin E did not show any reduction of the risk of colorectal, lung, or prostate cancer after 5.5 years of follow-up [Lippman 2009].

Thus, it seems that the protective effect against cancer may have come from one or more of the other selenium species in the selenium yeast preparation, not from the selenomethionine in the preparation [Bjørnstedt 2010]. read more