Selenium and Coenzyme Q10 Combination

The Swedish cardiologist Dr. Urban Alehagen has written persuasively that there exists a special inter-relationship between selenium and Coenzyme Q10 in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases.

Professor Urban Alehagen
Professor Urban Alehagen lecturing about the therapeutic cardiovascular benefits of combined selenium and Coenzyme Q10 supplementation.

Briefly, Prof. Alehagen, together with the Norwegian professor Jan Aaseth, makes the point that low selenium intakes and status could restrict the cells’ ability to get optimal concentrations of Coenzyme Q10 and that the cells need adequate of Coenzyme Q10 to permit optimal function of selenium [Alehagen & Aaseth 2015a].

The clinical outcomes of the KiSel-10 intervention study in which community living Swedish citizens, average age 78 years, were administered selenium and Coenzyme Q10 daily for four years show that combined selenium and Coenzyme Q10 supplementation, compared to placebo treatment, can be beneficial in populations that have low selenium status: read more

Selenium Supplementation Strengthens Immune Response to Covid-19

The available vaccines do not seem up to the task of preventing infection by the fourth wave of the Covid-19 virus. Accordingly, people in high-risk groups may want to start on a course of supplementation to address possible deficiencies of selenium, zinc, and vitamin D to strengthen their immune response [Alexander 2020].

Covid-19 vaccine
Resistance to Covid-19 and other viral infections, strengthening of immune system function, and reducing chronic inflammation all depend on adequate intakes of zinc, selenium, and vitamin D [Alexander 2020].
In this article, we will address the importance of adequate selenium intakes. Readers are encouraged to google zinc and Covid-19 and vitamin D and Covid-19 on their own.

Early initiation of adequate selenium, zinc, and vitamin D supplementation in high-risk individuals and in high-risk areas and, certainly, as soon as possible after the time of suspected infection with the Covid-19 virus can help the immune system [Alexander 2020]. read more

Selenium Status and Inflammation and Heart Disease

Low plasma selenium status is significantly associated with heart disease risk and with elevated blood bio-markers of chronic inflammation.  A 2021 cross-sectional study of elderly individuals in central Italy has revealed that individuals with a plasma selenium status lower than 60 mcg/L are especially at risk of heart disease [Giacconi 2021].

Ancona, Italy
Researchers in Ancona, Italy, have done a cross-sectional study that shows that low plasma selenium status is associated with increased risk of heart disease and with elevated levels of blood bio-markers for chronic inflammation.

Moreover, in the peripheral blood mononuclear cells of elderly individuals diagnosed with heart disease, the researchers found that low plasma selenium status was significantly associated with enhanced gene expression of inflammatory cytokines and chemokines and with a downregulation of sirtuins SIRT-1, SIRT-5, SIRT-6, and SIRT-7 [Giacconi 2021].

Note: The peripheral blood mononuclear cells are lymphocytes (e.g., T cells, B cells, NK cells) and monocytes as distinguished from such blood cells as erythrocytes, granulocytes, and platelets. read more

Serum Selenium Status and Mortality Risk in Individuals with Hypertension

Serum selenium concentrations show a U-shaped association with all-cause mortality and with cardiovascular mortality in individuals with hypertension [Tan 2021].

Blood pressure measuredThis conclusion is based on an analysis of data from 929 individuals diagnosed with hypertension [Tan 2021].

  • The average age of the individuals was 63 years plus/minus 13 years.
  • Slightly more than half of the individuals were male: 53%.
  • The researchers followed the individuals for a mean period of slightly more than ten years: 121 months plus/minus 41 months.
  • During the follow-up period, 307 individuals died, including 56 individuals who died from cardiovascular disease.
Quartiles of Serum Selenium Status

For purposes of analysis, the researchers categorized the individuals with hypertension into quartiles of serum selenium concentration [Tan 2021]:

Q1: equal to or less than 124 mcg/L

Q2: 125-135 mcg/L

Q3: 136-147 mcg/L

Q4: greater than 148 mcg/L

Optimal Serum Selenium Levels in Individuals with Hypertension

The researchers compared the data from the serum selenium quartiles and found that the risk of death from all causes and death from heart disease were lowest in the third quartile (serum selenium concentrations between 136 and 147 mcg/L) [Tan 2021]. read more

Selenium Status and Mortality and Type 2 Diabetes

Higher serum selenium concentrations are associated with a statistically significant 31% lower all-cause mortality and a statistically significant 34% lower heart disease mortality in individuals with type-2 diabetes [Qiu 2021].

This is the conclusion of researchers who conducted a relatively large cohort study of patients with diabetes with a long follow-up period. They analyzed the data from 3199 American adults with type-2 diabetes; the average follow-up period was 12.6 years [Qiu 2021].

During that follow-up period, 1693 deaths were documented, including 425 heart disease deaths [Qiu 2021].

Highest Quartile of Serum Selenium Compared to Lowest Quartile

Individuals in the highest quartile of serum selenium concentration had significantly lower all-cause mortality rates and significantly lower heart disease mortality rates when compared with individuals in the lowest quartile of serum selenium concentration [Qiu 2021]. read more

Achieving Optimal Plasma Selenium Status

Hurst et al. administered 50-mcg, 100-mcg, or 200-mcg of selenium daily for ten weeks to 119 healthy men and women aged 50–64 years living in the United Kingdom.

Facial mask
A healthy immune system depends upon an optimal selenium status to promote the bio-synthesis of antioxidant selenoproteins.

The researchers were testing the effect of the different daily dosages on plasma selenium status and plasma selenoprotein P status. They used a pharmaceutical-grade high-selenium yeast preparation with a documented 88.7% absorption [Bügel 2004].

The men and women in the study had a daily dietary selenium intake of approximately 55 mcg/day.  Intakes of selenium in the United Kingdom had fallen from a mean of 60 mcg/day in 1991 to a minimum of 30 to 40 mcg/day in 1995–2000; in 2010, the mean intake was 48–58 mcg/day [Hurst 2010]. read more

Plasma Selenoprotein P Levels and the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

Research conclusion: “The 20% with lowest SELENOP concentrations in a N orth European population without history of cardiovascular disease have markedly increased risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality” [Schomburg 2019].

Heart attack
Selenoprotein-P deficiency predicts cardiovascular disease and death. Low selenium intakes result in sub-optimal bio-synthesis of selenoprotein P in the liver. Now, research shows that low selenoprotein P concentrations are associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality.

This is the conclusion from the Malmö Preventive Project, a population-based prospective cohort study in southern Sweden, that examined the relationship between plasma selenoprotein P status and 1) risk of all-cause mortality, 2) risk of cardiovascular mortality, and 3) risk of a first cardiovascular event in 4366 study participants.

Note that this was a study done with study participants who had no history of cardiovascular disease. It was truly a study of the relationship between selenium status and the risk of heart disease. read more

Selenium Supplementation and Anti-Ageing Effects

The development of ageing-related diseases seems to be closely related to the extent of damage inflicted on the cells by oxidative stress. Researchers define oxidative stress as damage to proteins, nucleic acids, and lipids caused by an imbalance between harmful reactive oxygen species (frequently referred to as free radicals) and the body’s antioxidative defenses [Alehagen 2021].

Elderly couple on the beach
We want to stay as young as possible as late in life as possible. Ensuring that we have an optimal intake of selenium is associated with protection against several aspects of ageing.

A 2021 review of the relevant research literature reveals the following findings [Alehagen 2021]:

-Optimal selenium status is necessary for the synthesis of the antioxidant seleno-enzymes: the glutathione peroxidases and the thioredoxin reductases.

-Selenium deficiency in elderly individuals seems to increase the risk of developing age-related diseases: chronic inflammation, cardiovascular disease,  cancer, and neurodegenerative diseases. read more

Selenium and Kidney Function

Here are the main points from a recent review article on the topic of aging and exposure to heavy metals and kidney function:

Kidney cross section
Professor Jan Aaseth and his colleagues have reviewed the research literature about the response of the aging kidney to environmental toxicants like mercury, cadmium, and lead. Selenium may have a protective effect in that it binds to and sequesters the harmful heavy metals and also serves to reduce the level of oxidative stress.

The efficiency with which the kidneys remove waste and excess fluid from the blood declines with age in individuals who are older than 50–60 years.

  • Exposure to metal pollutants may be detrimental to the kidneys of normal healthy adults and exacerbates the functional decline of the kidneys in seniors. Given the prevalence of these heavy metal toxicants in the environment, it is nearly impossible for people to avoid exposure.
    • Studies have shown that exposure to mercury, cadmium, and/or lead is associated with an increase in the incidence and the severity of kidney disease in elderly individuals. There is some reason to think that adequate selenium status helps to protect against the damage of heavy metal toxicants.
    • Unfortunately, the early signs of kidney dysfunction often go unnoticed.
    Mercury, Cadmium, Lead – Difficult to Avoid

    Prof. Aaseth et al. write that toxic metals are so abundant in the environment that it is almost impossible for humans to avoid contact with them. read more

    Low Selenium Status and Autoimmune Diseases

    Selenium is an essential trace element, essential in the sense that our bodies cannot synthesize it, and we must get what we need of it in our diets.

    Elderly people
    Professor Schomburg distinguishes between selenium substitution – supplying selenium to correct a nutritional deficit – and selenium supplementation – supplying selenium on top of a sufficient baseline status for therapeutical purposes. Here, elderly people with joint pain.

    Suboptimal intakes of selenium, i.e., intakes below the recommended intake levels, are associated with increased disease risks, in particular increased risk of autoimmune diseases, chronic diseases, inflammation, etc.

    Unfortunately, the health risks of selenium deficiency are often neglected. Here are some facts:

    • Preventable endemic diseases are known in regions with selenium deficiency, e.g., in certain parts of China.
    • Sufficiently high selenium status is a prerequisite for adequate immune system response.
    • Individuals living in regions with selenium-poor soil, women who are  pregnant, individuals with autoimmune thyroid disease, and individuals with a severe illness, e.g. COVID-19, are known to have sub-optimal selenium intakes and status.
    • Improved dietary choices and/or selenium supplementation are efficient ways to avoid severe selenium deficiency.

    These are the major points in a recent journal article published by Professor Lutz Schomburg, Charité–Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Freie Universität Berlin, and Humboldt Universität zu Berlin.

    Selenium and Selenoproteins

    The micronutrient selenium is a component of the amino acid selenocysteine, which is itself an essential part of some 25 selenoproteins identified in human biology. Some selenoproteins are known to be essential for life; accordingly, they are preferentially synthesized and distributed. The brain, for example, has high priority for selenium in times of scarcity. read more