SELENIUM AND VIRAL INFECTIONS
Selenium, just like zinc, is an essential trace mineral. Selenium is important for many processes in the human body, including healthy immunity, cognitive function and fertility in both men and women.
Having adequate levels of selenium stops viruses in our body from becoming more harmful, making it easier for our immune system to eliminate them.
Selenium deficient mice infected with the influenza virus developed FAR MORE SERIOUS SYMPTOMS than mice that were fed a selenium adequate diet.
The life-saving necessity of an optimal selenium status for adequate immunocompetence against viral infections in humans was recognized with the outbreak of Serious Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
With the recent outbreak of the Coronavirus (Covid -19), it is more important than ever to look into how selenium can aid us to have an adequate immune response to such viral infections.
From a review by Margaret P. Rayman, who is acknowledged as the world expert on human selenium nutrition and its impact on health, everybody involved in human health should take a fresh look at the importance of trace minerals. This is especially true of viral infections, where it has been proved that selenium is an absolutely essential nutrient for adequate immunocompetence against such infections. It is even more important that the new awareness should trigger action to ensure that human selenium status is optimized, resulting in significantly more effective immunocompetence protecting against viral infections.
SELENIUM METABOLISM IN THE VIRUS.
According to Rayman, research has illustrated that a virus is capable of hijacking the selenium supply of the host by incorporating selenium into viral seleno proteins, thereby reducing the ability of the host to mount an effective immune response. As long as there is enough selenium, cellular immunity will be high and the host cell will be less likely to die (by apoptosis). Under lower than optimal selenium conditions, however, increased oxidative stress and apoptosis activate the virus, which must replicate at higher rates to escape from a dying cell, thus leading to increased pathogenic effects.
SELENIUM DEFICIENCY AND VIRAL INFECTIONS THAT SHOCKED THE WORLD.
In selenium research published in 1995 it was shown that harmless viruses could become virulent in a selenium-deficient host, causing serious diseases that might result in death.
Why do new influenza viruses originate from China?
Rayman postulates that if the 1995 research results can be applied to other viruses, it would explain why new influenza viruses originate from China. Rayman comes to the conclusion that because the most selenium deficient belts in the world run through China, selenium deficiency causes viruses to become virulent in the Chinese hosts. This is probably the most logical explanation why SARS also emerged from China.
WHAT SHOULD THE SELENIUM LEVEL IN PLASMA BE?
In Rayman’s review a selenium deficiency is defined as a selenium concentration in blood plasma of lower than 85 micrograms/ℓ. It is however important to note that Rayman reports on trials finding that a daily supplementation of 200 micrograms per head significantly increased the immunocompetence of individuals who already had an adequate plasma selenium concentration (120 to 134 micrograms/ℓ).
WHAT IS A SAFE DAILY SUPPLEMENTATION OF SELENIUM?
It is recommended that the daily diet is supplemented with 100 to 200 micrograms selenium. According to Rayman, several expert panels recommend that the maximum daily intake of selenium should not exceed 400 to 450 micrograms.
WHAT IS A GOOD SELENIUM SOURCE FOR THE SUPPLEMENTATION OF OUR DAILY DIET?
SELENO-ZINC PLUS is a liquid trace element supplement containing 150 micrograms bio-available selenium per mℓ. Supplementing one’s diet first thing in the morning with a single dose, mixed with 50ml water, can assure an optimal selenium status.
Selenium is a most important nutrient for natural resistance against viral infections.
Rayman, M.P., 2000. The importance of selenium to human health. THE LANCET, 356 (July 15, 2000): 233-241.