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Int J Hyg Environ Health. 2004 Jan;207(1):1-13.

No evidence for an impact of selenium supplementation on environment associated health disorders--a systematic review.

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Institute of Environmental Medicine and Hospital Epidemiology, Freiburg University Hospital, Germany.


In addition to vitamin C (and other vitamins/antioxidants), clinical ecologists (functional medicine) recommend selenium supplementation as a fundamental therapeutic remedy for the treatment of environment associated health disorders. This recommendation is based on the postulation that the trace element selenium inhibits oxidative stress generated during endogenous detoxification of xenobiotics (phase 1) by increasing selenium-dependent glutathione peroxidase activity, and that it counteracts heavy metal toxicity by forming inert metal complexes. The objective of this review was to investigate whether there are any valid studies providing reliable evidence of the therapeutic benefits of selenium supplementation in potentially environment associated health disorders. A systematic review was conducted based on the rigorous and well-defined methods developed by the Cochrane Collaboration. To achieve the demanding standards for systematic review set by the Cochrane Collaboration, study selection, quality assessment and data abstraction were performed independently and in duplicate using a standardized protocol. Overall, 1290 studies were identified as being eligible for inclusion. Twelve of these met the inclusion criteria and their quality was evaluated individually. None of the studies included in the analysis provided evidence of the therapeutic benefits of selenium supplementation in environment associated health disorders.

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