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Selenium supplementation in the diets of patients suffering from ulcerative colitis

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Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in which there is recurrent inflammation of the mucous membranes of the colon. Inflammation is accompanied by the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) including, amongst others, hydrogen peroxide. Selenium in the form of the selenoprotein glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px) acts as a catalyst in the reaction which reduces hydrogen peroxide to water. It may therefore beneficial to supplement the diets of patients who suffer from UC with selenium. In this preliminary study nine patients suffering from moderate UC were supplemented with selenium-β tablets (300 μg Se per tablet) twice daily. Blood samples were taken at the start of the trial and at 1, 2 and 4 week intervals. Freeze-dried serum samples were analysed for their selenium content using the technique of instrumental neutron activation analysis (INAA). Samples were also analysed by particle induced X-ray emission (PIXE) to monitor other trace elements levels. Selenium concentrations were found to increase during supplementation and iron concentrations to decrease. Stool frequency was also found to improve suggesting that ROS may be important in the pathogenesis of UC.

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Stedman, J.D., Spyrou, N.M., Millar, A.D. et al. Selenium supplementation in the diets of patients suffering from ulcerative colitis. J Radioanal Nucl Chem 217, 189–191 (1997).

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