Pre- and probiotics aren't the only supporters of gut health

While the prebiotic and probiotic trend remains strong, findings show that selenium intake may be just as important in supporting gut health. 

A recent article published in Frontiers in Nutrition, Selenium in Human Health and Gut Microflora: Bioavailability of Selenocompounds and Relationship with Diseases shares that "Dietary selenium can affect the gut microbial colonization, which in turn influences the host's selenium status and expression of selenoproteoma. Selenium deficiency may result in a phenotype of gut microbiota that is more susceptible to cancer, thyroid dysfunctions, inflammatory bowel disease, and cardiovascular disorders." 


Key points from the article: 

  • Selenium has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that may have an impact on lowering the risk of development of diseases characterized by inflammation and oxidative stress 
  • A trial by the Nutritional Prevention of Cancer (NPC) showed effectiveness in reducing the risk of prostate, lung, and colorectal cancers with 200 μg per day of selenized yeast 
  • Thousands of bacterial genomes in the gut microbiota utilize dietary selenium and selenoproteins 
  • Sufficient levels of dietary selenium can optimize the gut microflora for protection against intestinal dysfunctions and chronic diseases  
  • Dietary selenium deficiency, on the other hand, can impair innate and adaptive immune responses, especially at the colonic level where an increase in inflammatory cytokines is observed, creating an environment more susceptible to colitis and infection 

Reference: Ferreira Rannapaula Lawrynhuk Urbano, et al. Selenium in Human Health and Gut Microflora: Bioavailability of Selenocompounds and Relationship With DiseasesFrontiers in Nutrition, 2021

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