Magazine article Nutrition Health Review

Selenium and Infections

Magazine article Nutrition Health Review

Selenium and Infections

Article excerpt

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) researchers have found strong new evidence to support what concerned mothers have preached for generations: Eating a balanced diet can be critical to good health. The scientists have discovered that inadequate intake of selenium, a trace mineral, reduces damage caused by influenza viruses.

A report on the discovery appears in the April 27, 2002, issue, of the FASEB Journal, published by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. Authors include Dr. Melinda A. Beck, Associate Professor of pediatrics and nutrition at the UNC School of Medicine and School of Public Health, Heather K. Nelson, a doctoral student in nutrition at UNC, and Dr. Orville A. Levander, a nutritionist with the Agricultural Research Service's Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center, who specializes in selenium.

"It's been known for a long time that if you're malnourished, you're more susceptible to infectious diseases," Dr. Beck said.

The new investigation lays the groundwork for demonstrating that a specific deficiency in a specific nutritional requirement can affect the immune system and, consequently, viral infections, he said. …

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