Selenium Supplementation and Chemotherapy in Cervical Cancer Patients

Selenium yeast supplementation administered concurrently with chemotherapy and radiation therapy effectively increased blood selenium levels in cervical cancer patients with inadequate selenium status. The selenium yeast supplementation was used as an adjuvant treatment to the standard chemotherapy and radiation therapy. It significantly decreased the hematologic toxicity of the chemoradiotherapy [Yang 2023].

Cancer and selenium
Each year, worldwide, half a million women are diagnosed with cervical cancer, and 300 000 die from the disease. In most cases, the human papilloma virus is the cause of the disease [Cohen 2019]. The trace element selenium has antiviral properties. Cell studies and mouse studies of cervical cancer have shown that different selenium species have anticancer effects in cervical cancer induced by human papilloma virus or by chemical carcinogens [Jablonska 2021].
In a randomized controlled trial, researchers randomly assigned 104 patients diagnosed with stage IIB cervical cancer receive 100 mcg selenium yeast tablets (n=50) or matching placebos twice daily (n=54) for five weeks [Yang 2023].

All patients in both groups received the standard treatment including pelvic external irradiation, concurrent five cycles of chemotherapy, and brachytherapy [Yang 2023]. read more

Selenium and a Longer Healthier Life

The micronutrient selenium has antioxidant and anti-aging properties. Specifically, numerous selenoproteins, in which selenium is an essential component, have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and immunostimulating effects [Bjørklund 2022].

Why is this important?

Old people
Biological aging involves the gradual worsening of the composition of our cells and organelles. It involves the slowing down of our body functions. Aging is typically accompanied by wrinkled skin and thinner skin, by a loss of body mass and bone density, and by poorer eyesight. The older we get, the more vulnerable we are to loss of cognitive function and dementia, heart trouble, osteoporosis, renal failure, viral infections, etc. Eventually death comes.

The aging process is characterized by the following inevitable physiological developments [Alehagen 2021]:

Selenium and selenoproteins and antioxidant protection

One theory of biological aging is that oxidative stress and chronic low-grade inflammation play an important role in aging-related physical and mental decline. Harmful reactive oxygen species – popularly known as free radicals – overwhelm the ability of the available antioxidants to neutralize them. The harmful free radicals cause oxidative damage to the cells and to the DNA, lipids, and proteins in the cells [Bjørklund 2022]. read more

Thyroid Disorders and Selenium Supplementation

Thyroid disorders.

Many clinicians treating autoimmune thyroid diseases are using selenium supplementation as one treatment modality even though, in the official guidelines, selenium supplementation is recommended only in the treatment of mild Graves orbitopathy [Winther 2020].

Thyroid gland
The thyroid gland is the butterfly-shaped organ in the front part of the neck. Thyroid hormones regulate body temperature, heart rate, and weight gain or loss. Autoimmune thyroid disorders occur when immune system cells attack thyroid gland cells. Autoimmune thyroid disorders cause overproduction of thyroid hormones (hyperthyroidism) and underproduction of thyroid hormones (hypothyroidism). Graves’ disease is the most common autoimmune hyperthyroidism. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is the most common autoimmune hypothyroidism.

Some clinicians consider supplementation with selenium to be a pharmaceutical action that should be taken only with thyroid disorder patients with well-defined symptoms in order to alleviate the symptoms, to improve the course of the disease, or to provide a cure. Typically, in such cases, the selenium treatment is conducted for short periods, and the health benefits and side effects are evaluated and weighed [Schomburg 2020].

Other clinicians consider supplementation with selenium in a more holistic way and use selenium supplementation as a way to correct a nutritional deficiency of selenium, which is associated with thyroid disorders [Schomburg 2020]. read more

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 Coenzyme Q10 Supplementation To Prevent Heart Disease

Heart disease prevention. In the KiSel-10 Study, combined supplementation of community living senior citizens for four years with an organic high selenium yeast (200 mcg selenium/day) and Coenzyme Q10 in the ubiquinone form (2 x 100 mg/day) prevented an increase in fibroblast growth factor 23 and reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease [Alehagen Feb 2022].

what is fibroblast growth Factor 23?
Prof. Urban Alehagen
Prof. Urban Alehagen was among the first cardiologists to suspect that low selenium intakes might increase the risk of death from heart disease. He designed and conducted the KiSel-10 Study to test the hypothesis that combined selenium and Coenzyme Q10 supplementation might reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Professor Urban Alehagen explains that fibroblast growth factor 23 is a hormone that is secreted primarily from the osteocytes (i.e., mature bone cells) into the blood. From the blood circulation, the hormone acts on fibroblast growth factor receptors in the heart, intestine, kidney, and parathyroid gland [Alehagen Feb 2022].

Fibroblast growth factor 23 is mainly active in the metabolism of vitamin D and phosphorus. However, there have been reports that indicate an association between increased fibroblast growth factor 23 levels and cardiovascular mortality even in the patients with no sign of kidney disease [Alehagen Feb 2022]. read more

Adjuvant Treatment of Graves’ Hyperthyroidism with Selenium Yeast

Thyroid disease. Hyperthyroidism. Adjuvant treatment of thyroid disease with selenium yeast supplementation. All topics of interest. At this writing (August 2022), we await the publication of the outcomes of the GRASS clinical trial. GRASS is the acronym for the selenium supplementation for patients with Graves’ hyperthyroidism study [study protocol described by Watt 2013].

What is Graves’ Hyperthyroidism?

Thyroid gland
The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped endocrine gland in the neck below the Adam’s apple that makes and stores hormones that help regulate blood pressure, body temperature, heart rate, and the rate at which food is converted into energy. [This image is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.]
Hyperthyroidism is an autoimmune disease. It causes overactivity of the thyroid gland, resulting in too much production of the hormone thyroxine. Hyperthyroidism can cause an acceleration of the body’s metabolism; it can cause weight loss and rapid or irregular heartbeat.

Hyperthyroidism is caused by a number of conditions, including Graves’ disease, which is a common cause. Graves’ disease is the result of immune system disorder. It can affect anyone, but it is more common in women and in individuals under the age of 40. read more

Impact of Selenium Status on Ageing

Selenium is an essential trace element. Essential means that sufficient selenium is necessary for normal cell functioning and that our bodies cannot synthesize selenium for us. We must get it from our diets. Trace element means selenium is a micronutrient that is needed in very small quantities, in microgram quantities. It may be an important element to slow the ageing process.

Elderly couple
Selenium as a component in protective enzymes helps to keep us healthier longer in life. It helps to suppress oxidative stress and to decrease inflammation, to remove misfolded proteins, to decrease DNA damage, and to promote telomere length.

Sufficient selenium status plays an important role in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases, inflammation, and infections. Prof. Margaret P. Rayman, University of Surrey, estimates that serum/plasma selenium status of around 125 mcg/L is optimal for human health [Rayman 2020].

The beneficial work of selenium in the cells and tissues is done by selenoproteins that contain the amino acid selenocysteine in the active center. Among the selenoproteins known to have an antioxidant effect in the body are the glutathione peroxidases (GPX1-4 and GPX6) and the thioredoxin reductases (TXNRD1-3) [Alehagen 2021]. 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