Research & Study
Selenium and human health
Selenium is incorporated into selenoproteins that have a wide range of pleiotropic effects, ranging from antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects to the production of active thyroid hormone. In the past 10 years, the discovery of disease-associated polymorphisms in selenoprotein genes has drawn attention to the relevance of selenoproteins to health. Low selenium status has been associated with increased risk of mortality, poor immune function, and cognitive decline. Higher selenium status or selenium supplementation has antiviral effects, is essential for successful male and female reproduction, and reduces the risk of autoimmune thyroid disease. Prospective studies have generally shown some benefit of higher selenium status on the risk of prostate, lung, colorectal, and bladder cancers, but findings from trials have been mixed, which probably emphasizes the fact that supplementation will confer a benefit only if intake of a nutrient is inadequate. Supplementation of people who already have an adequate intake with additional selenium might increase their risk of type-2 diabetes. The crucial factor that needs to be emphasized with regard to the health effects of selenium is the inextricable U-shaped link with status; whereas additional selenium intake may benefit people with low status, those with adequate-to-high status might be affected adversely and should not take selenium supplements. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Selenium supplementation for critical illness. [Lancet. 2012]
[PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22381456
Dietary selenium intake modulates thyroid hormone and energy metabolism in men.
Hawkes WC1, Keim NL.
Most studies of selenium and thyroid hormone have used sodium selenite in rats. However, rats regulate thyroid hormone differently, and selenite, which has unique pharmacologic activities, does not occur in foods. We hypothesized that selenium in food would have different effects in humans. Healthy men were fed foods naturally high or low in selenium for 120 d while confined to a metabolic research unit. Selenium intake for all subjects was 47 microg/d (595 nmol/d) for the first 21 d, and then changed to either 14 (n = 6) or 297 (n = 5) microg/d (177 nmol/d or 3.8 micromol/d) for the remaining 99 d, causing significant changes in blood selenium and glutathione peroxidase. Serum 3,3′,5-triiodothyronine (T3) decreased in the high selenium group, increased in the low selenium group, and was significantly different between groups from d 45 onward. A compensatory increase of thyrotropin occurred in the high selenium group as T3 decreased. The changes in T3 were opposite in direction to those reported in rats, but were consistent with other metabolic changes. By d 64, the high selenium group started to gain weight, whereas the low selenium group began to lose weight, and the weight changes were significantly different between groups from d 92 onward. Decreases of serum T3 and compensatory increases in thyrotropin suggest that a subclinical hypothyroid response was induced in the high selenium group, leading to body weight increases. Increases of serum T3 and serum triacylglycerol accompanied by losses of body fat suggest that a subclinical hyperthyroid response was induced in the low selenium group, leading to body weight decreases. PMID:14608056
[PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14608056