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Real need for selenium supplement

Moderate selenium deficiency may increase risk of chronic disease

Conversely, selenium equivalent of daily Pharma Nord selenium tablets (1 tablet of Bio-Selenium+Zinc or SelenoPrecise) could reduce the risk of serious, age-related diseases, according to the known researcher Bruce Ames’ so called triage theory.

Researchers Joyce McCann and Bruce Ames from Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute have analyzed data from hundreds of scientific articles. They conclude that selenium-dependent proteins are much more resistant to selenium deficiency than non-essential selenoproteins. Consequently selenium tablets could be the answer to helping these proteins.

The triage theory

The new study supports Dr. Ames triage theory first proposed in 2006 in the journal PNAS. It explains that age-related diseases like heart disease could be unintended consequences of mechanisms developed throughout human evolutionary history to protect us from periodic vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Triage - from French: Trier,  means to sort, separate, or select was developed during the Napoleonic wars. There was a need for a system to give priority treatment to the wounded based on their chances of survival. This could quickly identify the soldiers who can soon return to battle. Dr. Ames' theory is similar to this principle, which proposes that moderate deficiency of any vitamin or mineral could increase age-related diseases. Vitamin and mineral-dependent proteins required for short-term survival and/or for reproduction are categorized "essential" and are predicted to be protected on vitamin and mineral deficiency over other "non-essential" vitamin and mineral-dependent proteins needed only for long-term health. The result of this priority, that the body makes is accumulation of insidious damage, increasing the risk for disease over time. The researchers have previously successfully tested the theory on vitamin-K.

Short-term emergency

A good example supporting Dr. Ames' triage theory is that we release calcium from the bone to the blood as a short-term survival response. This is done to neutralize the excess acid in the blood resulting from a high protein intake. This "short term" emergency measurement which the body makes, often has a long term consequence in the development of osteoporosis. The triage theory is a way of measuring the insidious damage going on over time. As a result it is my attempt to provide a solid nutritional foundation, Dr. Ames explains. In this new study McCann and Ames analyzed the activity and concentration of half the 25 known selenoproteins in mammals. They ranked five as essential and seven as nonessential. It was discovered that activity and level of the nonessential selenoproteins were lost when the organism suffered moderate selenium deficiency. In conclusion this result strongly supports Dr. Ames theory that among all selenoproteins, the malfunction of the nonessential selenoproteins are probably a major cause of the increase in risk of disease.

Reproduction is at the top of the list

One of the functions that the human body regards as top-priority is the ability to reproduce. As a result of this it “earmarks” that we require selenium to undertake this task, pushing other selenium-dependent functions in the background. Therefore the downgraded functions include defense mechanisms that protect against insidious diseases. Furthermore, nature puts our ability to reproduce at the top of the list and finds it less important that we are able to live longer.

Implications for RDA

The researchers consider that the current RDA of 55 µg selenium per day. This is equivalent to about 100 µg per liter of plasma selenium. Consequently this is based on the maximum activity in the blood selenium enzyme glutathione peroxidase (GPX). It may be insufficient because a vital selenium dependent protein called Sepp1 has proved to be more sensitive to selenium deficiency than GPX. They suggest that the RDA for selenium should increase to 75 µg a day. This is compared to the EU's upper tolerable limit is at 300 µg per day. References nutraingredients-usa.comMcCann JC, Ames BN. Adaptive dysfunction of selenoproteins from the perspective of the triage theory: why modest selenium deficiency may increase risk of diseases of aging. FASEB Journal 2011. E-Pub ahead of print.

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