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Selenium Deficiency Linked to Severe COVID-19: how to get enough Selenoproteins

Selenium could help protect people against coronavirus disease

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Manish Saini
Manish works as a Journalist and writer at Revyuh.com. He has studied Political Science and graduated from Delhi University. He is a Political engineer, fascinated by politics, and traditional businesses. He is also attached to many NGO's in the country and helping poor children to get the basic education. Email: Manish (at) revyuh (dot) com

Selenium deficiency was found in 42% of hospitalized COVID-19 patients, and Selenoproteins levels dropped as the severity of the condition worsened.

Selenoproteins integrate the 21st amino acid, selenocysteine, into their polypeptide chain. The principal mechanism by which selenium aids biological activities is through this mechanism.

In humans, there are at least 25 genes that code for selenoproteins, some of which are required for the development.

Furthermore, they are well-known to play critical roles in the etiology of disease. Antioxidation is supported by GPX 1-4, while redox regulation is boosted by TXNRD 1–3, methionine sulfoxide reductase B (MSRB)1, and selenoproteins (SELENO) H, M, and W.

A subset of enzymes called Iodothyronine deiodinase (DIO) 1–3 is involved in thyroid hormone metabolism, while SELENOP is involved in selenium transport and storage.

Florida International University researchers conducted a review of the studies on the effect of selenium in protecting humans against COVID-19 and published their findings in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences.

Selenium may reduce the severity of the SARS-CoV-2 virus by repairing GPX and TXNRD, reducing oxidative stress, viral-induced cell death, protecting endothelial cells, and decreasing blood platelet aggregation.

The increased oxidative stress and inflammation seen in patients with severe COVID-19 have been linked to the development of pulmonary illness. GSH has been shown to protect the lungs’ epithelial barrier.

In severe COVID-19, much of the inflammation is caused by SARS-CoV-2 attempting to infect endothelium cells, which die quickly and distribute cell debris broadly, prompting inflammation signals. GSH levels that are higher may be able to protect you from this.

In a study that looked at the effect of boosting sodium selenite levels in patients with ARDS – which is common in severe COVID-19 cases – it was discovered that it reduced inflammation, improved respiratory mechanics, and restored the lungs’ antioxidant capabilities.

The level of selenium in COVID-19 patients could also affect the function of B and T cells. People with a more severe form of the disease often have lower levels of lymphocytes, including CD4+ and CD8+ lymphocytes, as well as B and NK cells, than people with a more mild form of the disease.

Regrettably, the link between selenium and COVID-19 remains poorly understood. China, on the other hand, has a wide range of selenium levels in its soil, as well as a similar variation in its people. There is a linear relationship between COVID-19 cure rates and selenium levels in hair, with higher selenium levels leading to a considerable rise in cure rates, according to research.

A similar link can be found in the risk of death. Wuhan, Suizhou, and Xiaogan were the worst affected. Another study out of Wuhan found that the severity of COVID-19 was linked to greater selenium levels in urine, probably related to the disease’s liver problems.

A South Korean study focused on selenium and COVID-19, specifically looking at selenium levels in COVID-19 patients who were hospitalized.

They discovered that 42 percent of COVID-19 patients were low in selenium, and that selenium levels fell as the severity of the condition worsened, although they also discovered a number of other nutritional abnormalities.

Similar investigations in India, Iran, and Russia found reduced amounts of selenium in plasma in COVID-19 patients compared to healthy controls.

A German investigation of selenium levels in serum discovered that patients who survived COVID-19 were less likely to have a selenium shortage than those who died.

Another study from Belgium testing individuals with COVID-19 infection found both reduced GSH and GPX, as well as higher markers of oxidative stress and lower antioxidant status.

There is presently only one study assessing the efficacy of selenious acid infusion treatment for COVID-19 patients who are moderately, severely, or critically ill, and no clinical trials are ongoing.

Sodium selenite is readily available, generally non-toxic in the short term, and has the ability to pass the blood-brain barrier. It may also have the ability to oxidize thiol groups, preventing the virus from entering the cells.

There are many dietary sources of this metalloid, such as tuna, sardines, shellfish, chicken, eggs, nuts, and cereals.

The authors believe that selenium has a crucial role in protecting the host against viruses like SARS-CoV-2, and that when people are lacking in selenium, important activities include redox homeostasis, antioxidant stress, and oxidative stress reduction are greatly harmed.

Serum and plasma selenium levels in severe COVID-19 patients are likely low, indicating a paucity of functional selenoproteins.

This study could be extremely useful to medication developers and COVID-19 researchers and could aid in the development of Selenium-based therapeutics.

Source: https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23010280

Image Credit: Getty

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