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Selenium
Selenium

How to use the world's scarce selenium resources efficiently to increase the selenium concentration in food.

Haug 2007:
The world's rare selenium resources need to be managed carefully. Selenium is extracted as a by-product of copper mining and there are no deposits that can be mined for selenium alone. Selenium has unique properties as a semi-conductor, making it of special value to industry, but it is also an essential nutrient for humans and animals and may promote plant growth and quality. Selenium deficiency is regarded as a major health problem for 0.5 to 1 billion people worldwide, while an even larger number may consume less selenium than required for optimal protection against cancer, cardiovascular diseases and severe infectious diseases including HIV disease. Efficient recycling of selenium is difficult. Selenium is added in some commercial fertilizers, but only a small proportion is taken up by plants and much of the remainder is lost for future utilization. Large biofortification programmes with selenium added to commercial fertilizers may therefore be a fortification method that is too wasteful to be applied to large areas of our planet. Direct addition of selenium compounds to food (process fortification) can be undertaken by the food industry. If selenomethionine is added directly to food, however, oxidation due to heat processing needs to be avoided. New ways to biofortify food products are needed, and it is generally observed that there is less wastage if selenium is added late in the production chain rather than early. On these bases we have proposed adding selenium-enriched, sprouted cereal grain during food processing as an efficient way to introduce this nutrient into deficient diets. Selenium is a non-renewable resource. There is now an enormous wastage of selenium associated with large-scale mining and industrial processing. We recommend that this must be changed and that much of the selenium that is extracted should be stockpiled for use as a nutrient by future generations.


Can Selenite be an Ultimate Inhibitor of Ebola and Other Viral Infections?

Lipinski 2015:
It is known that the virulence of Ebola and other RNA enveloped viruses involves in the first step their attachment to host cell membranes. Following this initial step the virus enters the target cell cytoplasm by forming hydrophobic spikes that make holes in the membrane lipid bilayer. Formation of such spikes is catalyzed by the reduced form of viral protein disulfide isomerase (PDIred) thus initiating chain of disulfide exchange reactions. Consequently, hydrophobic protein epitopes become exposed, which in the absence of proper chaperones form hydrophobic ‘spikes’ capable of penetrating the host cell membranes. In this communication evidence is discussed showing that the chain of disulfide exchange events can be inhibited by a small redox molecule – sodium selenite. It is suggested that this inexpensive and readily available food supplement can be an ultimate inhibitor of Ebola and other enveloped viral infections.



For patients suffering from protein-catabolic conditions such as HIV disease and tuberculosis in poor countries, it is very important to improve the supply of cheap high-quality protein either from local agriculture or through improvement of the utilization of cheap fish resources for human consumption (which may be possible especially when using pelagic fish living in regions of oceanic upwelling, e.g. off the coasts of Namibia and Angola). Making Se-enriched animal products such as goat milk (from high-yielding dairy goats, e.g. by using salt licking stones containing Se-met) would appear a good strategy for improving the nutrition status of HIV patients in rural areas in Sub-Saharan Africa. It might help to correct several different nutrient deficiency conditions, being especially important in this context at the same time as it can be done cheaply in an ecologically acceptable way, especially when combined with agroforestry (and in hilly terrain also terrace construction) as methods of improving soil fertility.
- Haug, 2007 (How to use the world's scarce selenium resources efficiently to increase the selenium concentration in food.)



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