Selenium-containing antioxidant enzymes — such as the
glutathione peroxidases (GPx) — help to rid the body of destructive
peroxide and superoxide molecules by converting them to water
and alcohol. GPx enzymes are found in thyroid tissue and in
many other parts of the body — for example, the pancreas,
testes, pituitary, eyes, and skin, as well as other tissues. Selenium deficiencies, and the resulting GPx shortages, therefore cause oxidative damage throughout the body.
What we can’t tell you
In the U.S. and some other industrialized countries,
government agencies like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
have adopted censorship as a method for intensifying
their control over the supplement industry and its customers.
Thus, FDA regulations prohibit us from telling you that
any of our products are effective as medical treatments,
even if they are, in fact, effective.
Accordingly, we will limit our discussion of Sodium Selenate to a brief summary of relevant research,
and let you draw your own conclusions about what medical conditions it may be effective in treating.
Causes of selenium deficiencies
Selenium deficiencies can be caused by insufficient selenium
in the diet or by poor absorption in the digestive tract. Dietary
deficiencies are less common than they used to be — thanks to
supplementation — but absorption-related deficiencies are widespread.
Poor selenium absorption may be caused by a number of medical
- celiac disease
- Crohn’s disease
- cystic fibrosis
- pancreatic insufficiency
- biliary atresia
- liver disorders
- the use of certain drugs.
Consequences of inadequate selenium in the body
Seleno-proteins are so important to the body’s well-being that low selenium status is a risk factor for many diseases. Ailments that have been linked to low selenium levels include:
- aging due to peroxide damage or to telomere shortening
- age-related decline in performing mental tasks
- Buerger’s Disease (a serious vascular inflammation caused by tobacco)
- celiac disease
- autoimmune thyroid diseases
- intestinal damage
- infertility in males
- degeneration of ovaries
- cancer of the prostate, digestive tract, breast, and lung
- weakened bones
- impaired bone metabolism, growth retardation
- reduced immunity and UV protection in skin
- cardiovascular problems, thrombosis, and atherosclerosis
- Alzheimer’s and other neurological diseases
- muscle pain, fatigue, proximal weakness
- febrile seizures
- some forms of mastitis
- progression of HIV infection
- other infections
An excellent review of the role and importance of selenium in the diet is the one by Stazi and Trinti (see page 392 of the
Let us look at two of these selenium deficiency problems.
Celiac Disease is an inflammatory, auto-immune condition characterized by the inability to tolerate the protein gluten (found
in grains such as wheat, oats, rye, and barley).
People who have a genetic predisposition to the ailment, and whose diet
includes gluten, experience effects ranging from
fatigue to permanent damage to the intestine, thyroid, and
other organs. Such damage can even trigger the formation of cancer
tumors. When intestinal damage occurs, the absorption of food,
vitamins and minerals is impaired. This leads to various deficiencies,
including selenium deficiencies. A shortage of selenium
exacerbates the inflammation and also allows the thyroid gland to
be damaged by peroxides. Small wonder that celiac disease can be fatal.
While the proper treatment for this disease is a gluten-free diet, much of the disease’s secondary damage may be avoided if
supplementary selenium is administered early enough.
Thyroid hormone synthesis requires continuous production of hydrogen peroxide.
When allowed to run free, this highly destructive substance does
serious damage to the body. But the body has an appropriate
defense: antioxidative enzymes, including the GPx (glutathione
peroxidase) enzymes. GPx enzymes require selenium as part of
their structure. Without adequate supplies of selenium, the
body fails to make enough GPx to control the peroxide, the peroxide
escapes and does damage to nearly everything it touches —
particularly to the tissue of the thyroid gland itself. The resulting
thyroid malfunctions can lead to various diseases.
Such thyroid problems are easy to avoid. As Stazi and Trinti state in their review, “… an adequate selenium intake is needed
to maximize the activity of gluathione peroxidase (GPx) and other selenoproteins.”
Selenium intake should typically be in the range of 55 to 400 mcg per day. This translates to 132 to 957 mcg/day of selenium selenate. Both excess and deficiency of selenium can cause impaired growth. Amounts greater than 800 mcg/day of selenium (1914 mcg/day of sodium selenate), if consumed routinely, may lead to undesirable
side effects, such as impaired growth of hair, fingernails, and other fast-growing tissues.
Are Sodium Selenate supplements useful for the conditions and purposes mentioned above?
We aren’t allowed to tell you, so you should take a look at some of the references cited here,
and then decide for yourself.
 Selenium. Novartis Found Symp. 2007; 282:143-9; discussion 149-53, 212-8 Alexander J.
 Selenium, the thyroid, and the endocrine system. Endocr Rev. 2005 Dec; 26(7):944-84 Köhrle J, Jakob F, Contempré B, Dumont JE
 Selenium status and over-expression of interleukin-15 in celiac disease and autoimmune thyroid diseases. Ann Ist Super Sanita. 2010; 46(4):389-399 Stazi AV, Trinti B
 Selenoprotein W during development and oxidative stress. J Inorg Biochem. 2006 Oct; 100(10):1679-84
 Telomerase activity and telomerase reverse transcriptase expression induced by selenium in rat hepatocytes. Biomed Environ Sci. 2009 Aug; 22(4):311-7 Yu RA, Chen HJ, He LF, Chen B, Chen XM
 Plasma selenium is positively related to performance in neurological tasks assessing coordination and motor speed. Mov Disord. 2010 Sep 15; 25(12):1909-15 Shahar A, Patel KV, Semba RD, Bandinelli S, Shahar DR, Ferrucci L, Guralnik JM
 Trace elements and toxic heavy metals play a role in Buerger disease and atherosclerotic peripheral arterial occlusive disease. Int Angiol. 2010 Dec; 29(6):489-95 Arslan C, Altan H, Akgün OO, Kiziler AR, Aydemir B, Güzel S, Besirli K, Bozkurt AK
 Acute selenium toxicity associated with a dietary supplement. Arch Intern Med. 2010 Feb 8; 170(3):256-61 MacFarquhar JK, Broussard DL, Melstrom P, Hutchinson R, Wolkin A, Martin C, Burk RF, Dunn JR, Green AL, Hammond R, Schaffner
W, Jones TF
 Relationship between selenium and breast cancer: a case-control study in the Klang Valley. Singapore Med J. 2009 Mar; 50(3):265-9 Suzana S, Cham BG, AhmadRohi G, MohdRizal R, Fairulnizal MN, Normah H, Fatimah A
 Selenium and lung cancer: a quantitative analysis of heterogeneity in the current epidemiological literature. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2004 May; 13(5):771-8 Zhuo H, Smith AH, Steinmaus C
 Nutritional status of selenium in Alzheimer's disease patients. Br J Nutr. 2010 Mar; 103(6):803-6 Cardoso BR, Ong TP, Jacob-Filho W, Jaluul O, Freitas MI, Cozzolino SM
 Skeletal muscle disorders associated with selenium deficiency in humans. Muscle Nerve. 2003 Jun; 27(6):662-8 Chariot P, Bignani O
 Correlation between serum selenium level and febrile seizures. Pediatr Neurol. 2010 Nov; 43(5):331-4 Mahyar A, Ayazi P, Fallahi M, Javadi A
 Coeliac disease. Wikipedia website
 Selenium status and the risk of esophageal and gastric cancer subtypes: the Netherlands cohort study. Gastroenterology. 2010 May; 138(5):1704-13 Steevens J, vandenBrandt PA, Goldbohm RA, Schouten LJ
 Role of selenium in HIV infection. Nutr Rev. 2010 Nov; 68(11):671-81 Stone CA, Kawai K, Kupka R, Fawzi WW
 Selenium and thyroid. Best Pract Res Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2009 Dec; 23(6):815-27 Köhrle J, Gärtner R