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How effective are selenium supplements for congestive heart failure?

A recent study in the British Journal of Nutrition article revealed new findings on the role of selenium supplements in patients suffering from congestive heart failure.

Congestive heart failure is a syndrome comprised of several symptoms including shortness of breath, swelling in lower legs and hands, decreased ability to perform physical exercise, and the accumulation of fluid in the lungs. The main difficulty in patients with congestive heart failure is that the heart is not capable to fulfil its role as a blood pump as a result of weak or dysfunctional heart muscles.

There are a variety of reasons for the development of congestive heart failure in patients. Of these, heart attacks are the most common cause. As a result of a high prevalence of heart attacks, heart failure is a common difficulty in many of these patients, putting a high burden of disease on the health care system. Almost 10 out of 1000 people over the age of 65 suffer from heart failure.

There are standard treatments for heart failure with different goals. Medications typically aim to reduce the workload of the heart to prevent future remodelling and additional progression. Previous research has studied the role of different nutritional supplements such as selenium and vitamin E on inflammation and metabolic markers in patients with type 2 diabetes and heart failure.

In a new study from the British Journal of Nutrition, a clinical trial conducted in Kashan University of Medical Sciences in Iran studied the role of selenium supplements on cardiometabolic risk factors in patients with congestive heart failure.

This double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial was conducted on 53 patients with heart failure. The researchers randomly assigned the participants to receive either 200 micrograms/day of selenium or a placebo for a total of 12 weeks.

Based on the findings and compared to the placebo groups, participants who received selenium had statistically reduced serum insulin, insulin resistance, LDL cholesterol (harmful cholesterol) and high sensitivity C –reactive protein (a protein that indicates the inflammation in the human body). Additionally, selenium supplements could significantly increase HDL Cholesterol and insulin sensitivity.

All in all, the authors concluded that supplementation with selenium in patients with heart failure can be effective in reducing insulin resistance and improving some other inflammatory markers.

Written by Nima Makhdami, M.D.

Reference: Raygan, F., Behnejad, M., Ostadmohammadi, V., Bahmani, F., Mansournia, M. A., Karamali, F., & Asemi, Z. (2018). Selenium supplementation lowers insulin resistance and markers of cardio-metabolic risk in patients with congestive heart failure: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. British Journal of Nutrition120(1), 33-40.

Nima Makhdami
Nima Makhdami
Nima has experience as an emergency room physician and clinical research associate. He also has experience in medical literature, clinical data analysis and was a member of a research team for several published articles. He is working on several clinical research projects at the University of Toronto, McMaster University, and Western University. Writing for Medical News Bulletin has allowed Nima to follow his passion for medical writing. He is also passionate about internal medicine and hopes to continue his education in internal medicine residency in the near future. He enjoys playing piano and abstract painting.


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