Your heart is built to contract multiple times a minute to push blood throughout the body. If the ability of the heart muscle to contract starts to deteriorate, it is the beginning of a condition known as cardiomyopathy. Cardiomyopathy can further deteriorate until complete heart failure occurs. The first major link between cardiomyopathy and selenium deficiency came when researchers started looking at Keshan disease in China.
The role of selenium in the heart
Selenium is a trace mineral integral to the enzyme, glutathione peroxidase. When there is a selenium deficiency, there is not going to be enough glutathione peroxidase. This enzyme supports the active metabolism of tissues and organs and acts as an antioxidant that fights oxidation radical damage. Many cases of cardiomyopathy are caused by oxidation radical damage to the heart muscle. Radical damage to the heart can be caused by many diseases and medical conditions. Because the selenium found in glutathione peroxidase helps prevent oxygen radicals, especially in regions naturally low in sodium.
Selenium deficiency is linked to Keshan disease
The first potential major link between cardiomyopathy and selenium deficiency came when researchers started looking at Keshan disease in China. Keshan disease was first noted in Keshan county, in the Heilongjiang province of northwest China. People who have Keshan disease often have an abnormally large heart. The most afflicted populations found were children and women during their childbearing years. This condition often leads to heart failure and pulmonary edema. Those with Keshan disease also have higher rates of cataracts, arthritis, psoriasis, and infections. Researchers found that patients with Keshan disease had a significantly lower level of selenium in their blood when compared to populations in other parts of China. These researchers also found that the soil in Keshan county had very low levels of the mineral. The study suggests that this is where the problem originated, since humans get most of their selenium by consuming plants. If the soil does not have selenium for plants to absorb, the plants cannot provide sufficient quantities of the trace mineral. Keshan disease has been found in other regions of the world, including Finland and New Zealand. All instances of Keshan disease come from areas where selenium levels in the soil are extremely low. The good news is that supplementation is an potential remedy for Keshan disease. These findings caused Dr. Wallach to start looking at cardiomyopathy in the rest of the world.
Selenium deficiency is linked to Cardiomyopathy
The link between selenium deficiency and cardiomyopathy in the Western world was originally considered unlikely or extremely rare. Almost everyone has access to food with sufficient levels of the mineral to support the development of glutathione peroxidase, but research has shown otherwise. Populations in Western industrialized countries have been found to have selenium deficiencies and as a result, a higher rate of cardiomyopathy. Patients who have been on intravenous nutrition for an extended period of time show extreme selenium deficiency without supplementation. People who live destructive lifestyles, like alcoholics and drug users, also have a selenium deficiency in their blood. Patients who have diseases that cause intestinal absorption problems can have selenium deficiency. Some medical conditions can cause or contribute to selenium deficiency including AIDS, Celiac disease, cystic fibrosis, tropical sprue, intestinal tuberculosis, and Whipple's disease. Selenium deficiency may also plays a role in the heart damage caused by the Coxsackie B-virus. If you look through textbooks on cardiology, you will find few references of selenium deficiency as a cause of cardiomyopathy. The role of nutrition (or lack of nutrition) in disease development is still lacking in many medical circles. Fortunately, patients have access to far more medical and nutritional information than they did a couple of decades ago. If you want to learn more about the nutritional connections to cardiomyopathy and other diseases, contact Hey Mr. Vitamin today! Give us a call at (806) 640-2090 or Contact Us via email. Our nutritional supplements even provide the selenium needed for a healthy mind and body. Get started to today to make a better future tomorrow.