Selenium is included in the protocol for many Complementary Alternative Medicine CAM protocols for Hepatitis C. Selenium is a nonmetal chemical element with the atomic number 34, represented by the chemical symbol Se. Selinium is a primitive mineral antioxidant. Although it is toxic in large doses, selenium is an essential micronutrient for animals. Trace amounts of the element are necessary for cellular function forming the active center of the enzymes glutathione peroxidase and thioredoxin reductase which indirectly reduce certain oxidized molecules. Selenium increases natural killer cells and mobilizes cancer-fighting cells. Selenium also plays a role in the functioning of the thyroid gland by participating as a cofactor for the three known thyroid hormone deiodinases.
Research Concerning Selenium and the Liver:
There exists a good number of medical research on selenium and liver disease. The following is a list of these published studies and they can be found by their PMID # at the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health website:
Anti-inflammatory activity of selenium was demonstrated by normalized blood levels of ALT and IL-6 in LPS-injected animals. In conclusion, selenium up-regulates hepatocytes MnSOD expression, probably improving their anti-oxidant defense, while decreasing MnSOD and IL-6 transcription in Kupffer cells in the presence of inflammatory stimuli, attenuating their inflammatory response. This selective mechanism may explain the anti-inflammatory and hepato-protective effect of selenium.
Vitamin E and selenium supplementation at the given level can inhibit CCl(4)-induced activation and proliferation of hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) and promote the apoptosis of activated HSCs in acute damage phase. Vitamin E and selenium can also effectively decrease the degree of hepatic fibrosis and promote the recovery process.
Cirrhotic hepatitis C patients had significantly lower levels of selenium, glutathione, and vitamins A, C, and E than noncirrhotic patients and that all hepatitis C patients had lower levels of these antioxidants than age-matched healthy controls. Antioxidant therapy (glutathione, selenium and vitamins A, C and E) may therefore have a role in slowing disease progression to cirrhosis.
Levels of selenium and zinc were significantly reduced in untreated hepatitis C patients and overall antioxidant status was lower in hepatitis C patients than in healthy controls. The levels of zinc and selenium in blood have important impact on the viral factors in chronic hepatitis C.
Conclusion on Selenium as Complimentary Alternavie Medicine for Hepatitis C:
Selenium is a very favorable choice of complimentary alternative medicine (CAM) for the Hepatitis C Virus (HCV).
Numerous studies have documented low levels of selenium in hepatitis C (HCV)patients, and when used in conjunction with other antioxidants, it has been shown to reduce oxidative stress in the liver. The level of selenium depletion appears to correspond to disease severity: the more advanced the liver damage, the greater the degree of depletion.
Because Hepatitis C encodes selenoproteins, the virus depletes cells of selenium. Therefore, those with Hepatitis C need more selenium than the average person. Researchers hypothesize that when cells are drained of selenium, the Hepatitis C virus will spread from cell to cell looking for more. Thus, adding additional selenium to your diet is smart for those with Hepatitis C because it is an anti-inflammatory with hepato(liver)-protective effects. Vitamin E and selenium can also effectively decrease the degree of hepatic fibrosis and promote the recovery process as well as playing a role in slowing disease progression to cirrhosis.
Selenium is a critical part of Dr. Berkson's triple antioxidant treatment. Dr. Melissa Palmer also acknowledged the importance of selenium in her interview with Healthy Hepper.
Selenium Food Sources:
Supply as much selenium to your cells as possible with the following selenium-rich foods: brazil nuts, broccoli, onions, leeks, garlic, whole grains, egg yolks, tuna, red snapper, shrimp, crab and lobster.
Selenium—200 to 600 micrograms (mcg) daily
You may want to start lower and increase. Taking a one 200 or 250 dose in the morning and one in the evening is wise as splitting the dosage allows your body to absorb it better.
High doses of selenium (1000 micrograms or more daily) for prolonged periods may cause adverse reactions. More is not always better!
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