The functions of selenium supplements

skin-cells antioxidant
Selenium is an important component of the antioxidant defense in the cells. It helps to protect against oxidative damage to both cells and DNA. It has been shown to have a protective effect against the damage to skin cells caused by ultraviolet radiation.

Why the interest in selenium facts?  Here, at the beginning of the website, we want to review in broad terms what we know about the functions of selenium supplementation. We are especially interested in selenium’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects in the human body.

Selenium is an essential trace element in the human diet, and, in many regions of the world, it is an absolutely necessary nutritional supplement.  It has many and diverse functions in the human body.

One of the interesting things about selenium is that it does not perform its functions as an element or an ion.  Instead, it functions as a component of more complex compounds.  In particular, it is an essential component of the 21st amino acid, selenocysteine. read more

Professor Jørgen Clausen: early selenium researcher

professor J. Clausen
Professor Jørgen Clausen was one of the first researchers to realize the importance of supplementation with selenium in regions of the world with selenium-poor soil.

Professor Jørgen Clausen, long-time professor in the Institute for Life Sciences and Chemistry, Roskilde University Center, in Roskilde, Denmark, was one of the early researchers to do clinical studies of the effects of supplementation with selenium. As such, it seems instructive to go back and look at the research done by Dr. Clausen and his colleagues at the end of the 20th century.

Professor Clausen’s selenium studies
Basically, Professor Clausen’s research can be described in five different categories:

  • Effect of selenium supplementation on the health of the elderly nursing home residents
  • Effect of selenium supplementation on the health of cigarette smokers
  • Effect of selenium supplementation on the health of patients with chronic neurologic disorders
  • Effect of selenium supplementation on the toxic effects of lead poisoning
  • Effect of selenium supplementation on the activity levels of the selenium-dependent antioxidant enzyme glutathione peroxidase

In addition, Professor Clausen was an early leader in the investigation of the absorption and health effects of various forms of inorganic and organic selenium supplements.

Selenium supplementation and smokers and oxidative stress
To understand Dr. Clausen’s interest in the effect of selenium supplementation on smokers, we must first understand the concept of oxidative stress and the related concept of oxidative damage.  Oxidative stress occurs when, in the process of metabolism of oxygen, the body produces, as a by-product, various reactive oxygen species (for example: peroxide, superoxide, hydroxyl, and singlet oxygen radicals) to excess. read more

Moderate selenium deficiency may increase risk of chronic disease

Pill, hand, disease
A supplement of 100 micrograms of elemental selenium a day is able to satisfy the needs of the most critical selenoproteins.

Moderate selenium deficiency is associated with increased risk of chronic disease: cancer, heart disease, thyroid disorder.  Conversely, a selenium supplement containing one hundred (100) micrograms of selenium  daily could reduce the risk of serious, age-related diseases in persons with moderate selenium deficiency, according to the known researcher Bruce Ames’ so-called triage theory.

Researchers Joyce McCann and Bruce Ames from Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute (CHORI) have analyzed the data from hundreds of scientific articles. They conclude that some selenium-dependent proteins that are regarded as essential for the body’s survival in the period until humans reach reproductive age are much more resistant to selenium deficiency than are other non-essential selenoproteins. read more

Selenium Compounds Fight Cancer

diabetes-picture, cancer
The body’s selenium level can be measured by using a blood sample

In a new scientific study, Danish researchers from Copenhagen University have demonstrated that methylated selenium compounds can regulate the body’s immune system enabling it to better fight certain cancers. These selenium compounds are found in certain foods such as garlic and broccoli but also in the selenium preparations containing selenium yeast.

Certain cancers such as skin cancer, prostate cancer, and some forms of leukemia weaken the body’s immune system by overstimulating it until it eventually breaks down, giving cancer cells a free rein in the body. What this new Danish research shows is that the intake of selenium compounds that can be metabolized into methylselenol improves the immune system’s ability to fight cancer. read more – A New Website

Dr. Urban Alehagen, new website
Research done at the Linköping University in Sweden by Dr. Urban Alehagen and his colleagues has shown a relatively high mortality rate in elderly Swedish citizens with low selenium status. Daily supplementation with selenium and Coenzyme Q10 for five years significantly reduced the risk of death from heart disease in home-living healthy elderly Swedish citizens.

What is the idea behind a new website called

For the most part, what we want to do with this website is to present clinical research results from published, peer-reviewed studies of the safety and efficacy of selenium supplements.

A cousin website to the website
We want to try to do the same thing with that we have been doing with website.

We want to report the results of human studies that have been done as randomized controlled clinical trials.  We want to present the following types of information about selenium supplementation studies and selenium status:

  • the study design
  • the sample size
  • the composition of the sample
  • the selenium form and dosage
  • the length of the study
  • the confounding factors in the study
  • the study results
  • the researchers’ interpretation of the results

Intervention studies about selenium supplementation
Basically, there are two types of human studies: observational studies and intervention studies.  The big difference between observational studies and intervention studies is that the researchers control the use of the independent variable in intervention studies but do not do so in observational studies. read more