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New research shows sufficient Selenium intake may make a difference in immune response against COVID-19

It didn’t take a global pandemic for us to learn the benefits of selenium on the immune system, butit did reinforce them! A recent article from Environmental Research, Selenium (Se) plays a key role in the biological effects of some viruses: implications for COVID-19dives deep into the powerful effects of selenium against potentially deadly viruses. 

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Key Points: 

  • Selenium is an essential trace mineral for the human body required for antioxidant function and optimal immune health. 
  • Selenium deficiency increases RNA-virus replication and mutations (like the COVID-19 Delta variant), which in turn leads to greater viral virulence. 
  • The incidence of COVID-19 was more than 10 times higher in selenium-deficient regions in China and mortality was more than 5 times higher, compared to selenium-rich regions. 
  • The amount of selenium any one person gets is not solely based on their diet choices.  
  • Selenium content in soil can vary 20-fold throughout the world, resulting in foods that carry insufficient nutritional value. 
  • Selenium deficiency has been linked to HIV/AIDS and the Ebola fever epidemics in West Africa. 
  • Mortality was reduced by nearly 60% with selenium supplementation in virally infected mice (H1N1). 
  • Selenium supplementation has also been shown to reduce mortality rate of severe hemorrhagic fever from 100% down to 37%, and from 22% to 0% in less severe cases. 

Reference: Liu Q, Zhao X, Ma J et al. Selenium (Se) plays a key role in the biological effects of some viruses: implications for COVID-19. Environmental Research 2021;196:110984. 

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