Selenium Supplementation for Senior Citizens

Health benefits of daily supplementation of senior citizens with a combination of selenium and Coenzyme Q10:

  • improved heart function as shown on echocardiograms
  • reduced risk of death from heart disease
  • improved health-related quality of life
Professor Urban Alehagen
In the KiSel-10 Study, Prof. Urban Alehagen and the research team administered 200 mcg/day of selenium and 2 x 100 mg/day of Coenzyme Q10 for 48 months to elderly Swedish citizens whose serum selenium status at baseline was quite low (mean: 67.1 mcg/L). The duration of the study was 48 months. The benefits of the supplementation were improved heart function and reduced risk of death from heart disease.

The combined supplementation seems to work by reducing the extent of oxidative stress, systemic inflammation, and fibrosis in the study participants [Alehagen 2022a].

Now, data from the KiSel-10 Study show the following effects of the combined supplementation with respect to Fibroblast Growth Factor 23 concentrations in blood:

  • Supplementation decreased concentrations of FGF-23 hormones.
  • The study showed a relationship between the circulating level of the FGF-23 and atrial fibrillation.
  • The study showed an association between the concentration of FGF-23 and death from heart disease.
  • The study showed an effect of reduced FGF-23 levels on the risk of death from heart disease that is independent of the level of the cardiac wall tension bio-marker NT-proBNP.
  • There exists a close interrelationship between FGF-23 concentrations and kidney function.
Why are FGF-23 Concentrations Important?

Prof. Alehagen explains that FGF-23 is a hormone that is secreted into the blood circulation. One of its primary functions is the regulation of the vitamin D metabolism and of the phosphorous metabolism in the kidneys.

However, there seems to be an association between FGF-23 activity and cardiovascular mortality even in the absence of kidney disease. Experimental data show that FGF-23 may act as a mediator for cardiac hypertrophy, cardiac fibrosis, and cardiac dysfunction [Alehagen 2022b]. read more

Antioxidant Action of Selenium and Selenoproteins

Antioxidants. Several selenoproteins play important roles as antioxidant enzymes in the protection of the cells and the mitochondria against the oxidative damage caused by harmful free radicals. Prominent among the antioxidant seleno-enzymes are the glutathione peroxidases and the thioredoxin reductases [Alehagen 2022].

Professor Urban Alehagen
Professor Urban Alehagen, the lead researcher on the KiSel-10 Study, estimates that a daily selenium intake of 110-150 mcg per day is necessary to achieve optimal expression of selenoprotein P, one of the most important selenoproteins in the plasma and the main transporter of selenium in the blood [Alehagen 2022].
Note: Oxidative stress is the bio-medical term for an imbalance in the relationship of 1) harmful free radicals, mostly of the reactive oxygen species, and 2) protective antioxidants, which should neutralize the harmful free radicals.

In many regions of the world, notably in much of Europe and the Middle East, there is selenium-poor soil and selenium-poor foodstuffs. In Sweden, for example, the average daily intake of selenium among senior citizens
is approximately 35 mcg/day, well below the amounts (110–150 mcg/day) needed for an optimal expression of the selenoprotein antioxidants [Alehagen 2022].
read more

Selenium Deficiency and Heart Failure

Heart failure – the inability of the heart muscle to pump a sufficient quantity of blood out to the body – is a debilitating disease, resulting in shortness of breath, congestion in the lungs, and pooling of blood in the lower extremities. Heart failure is equivalent to diminished quality of life.

Depiction of a mitochondrion. The mitochondria in our cells convert energy sources such as fatty acids, glucose, and ketones into ATP energy molecules. Sufficient intakes of micronutrients such as selenium, Coenzyme Q10, and zinc are important for mitochondrial energy production and for antioxidant protection of cells, lipids, proteins, and DNA.

The prognosis for heart failure is poor, and the available medical therapies for patients with heart failure are inadequate. New treatment strategies are needed [Mortensen 2015].

Yin et al have analyzed the data from 39,757 adults in a cross-sectional study from the 2005–2018 US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Their findings suggest that high levels of combined dietary antioxidant micronutrients are associated with decreased prevalence of various forms of cardiovascular disease and that selenium has the greatest contribution to this association [Yin 2022]. read more

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