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Selenium and Eczema (Research)

Research Summary

Ranjbar, 2001    Human: randomized, prospective clinical study   

Children with moderate or severe atopic eczema received oral sodium selenite for 12 weeks.    Selenium supplementation produced clinical improvement in children with either moderate or severe atopic eczema.  Selenium’s beneficial effects occurred through it improving immune system derangements.


Juhlin, 1982    Human  

  Blood glutathione-peroxidase (a selenium-dependent enzyme) was measured in eczema patients and healthy controls.    Eczema patients had depressed levels of blood glutathione peroxidase compared with healthy controls.


Juhlin, 1982    Human   

Eczema patients with low blood levels of glutathione peroxidase (a selenium-dependent enzyme) received 200 mcg of sodium selenite + 10 mg of alpha-tocopherol succinate per day for 8 weeks.    Sodium selenite + vitamin E treatment increased blood glutathione peroxidase levels in eczema patients.


Plankova, 2010    Human 

   Atopic eczema patients were treated with inorganic selenium for 6 months.    65% of atopic eczema patients treated with inorganic selenium experienced an improvement in their clinical state.
Peer-Reviewed Professional Journals

·    Juhlin, L., et al.  Blood glutathione-peroxidase levels in skin diseases:  effect of selenium and vitamin E treatment.  Acta Dermatovener (Stockholm).  62(3):211-214, 1982.

Blood glutathione-peroxidase (GSH-Px) was determined in 61 healthy subjects and 506 patients with various skin disorders.  Depressed levels were observed in patients with psoriasis, eczema, atopic dermatitis, vasculitis, mycosis fungoides and dermatitis herpetiformis.  Low values of GSH-Px were also found in some patients with pemphigoid, acne conglobata, polymyositis, rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma and systemic lupus erythematodes.  Vegetarian diet, malnutrition and alcohol abuse could possibly account for the low values in some patients.  Fifty patients with low GSH-Px levels were treated with tablets containing 0.2 mg selenium as Na2SeO3 (sodium selenite) and 10 mg tocopheryl succinate.  The GSH-Px levels increased slowly within 6-8 weeks of treatment.  The clinical effect was encouraging and calls for controlled studies.

·    Plankova, A., et al.  Determination of selenium in clinical plasma samples related to atopic dermatitis study by chronopotentiometric stripping method.  Pharmazie.  65(5):327-330, 2010.

Department of Pharmaceutical Analysis and Nuclear Pharmacy, Faculty of Pharmacy, Comenius University, Bratislava, Slovakia.

Galvanostatic stripping chronopotentiometry (GSC) was developed and applied for the determination of selenium in human plasma.  In this work GSC based on composite carbon electrode coated by a gold layer was optimized concerning various electrochemical parameters (coating procedure, electrolysis potential, electrolysis time, dissolution current).  Along with this, the sample preparation was optimized with respect to mineralization conditions (type and concentration of decomposition agent, temperature, time).  The human plasma samples mineralized in an autoclave under the optimized conditions (160 degrees C, 100 min, 22 mol/l HNO3) were appropriately diluted by background electrolyte solution (0.100 mol/l H2SO4 + 0.001 mol/l HCl) and directly analyzed by the optimized GSC method.  The proposed method was characterized by excellent performance parameters, the limit of detection was 0.2 ng/ml, accuracy <5%, reproducibility <4%.  The proposed method was applied for the investigation of the relationship between atopic dermatitis and selenium concentration in human plasma.  Here, patients suffering from atopic dermatitis were monitored during their treatment with a pharmaceutical preparation containing inorganic selenium (Zinkosel).  After six months therapy increased levels of selenium in plasma were detected in 76% of the patients with an improvement of the clinical state in 65% of the patients.

·    Ranjbar, A., et al.  Selenium and atopic dermatitis - systemic treatment with sodium selenite, a new therapeutical concept for the treatment of atopic dermatitis in children.  International Pediatrics.  16(2):96, 2001.

The authors observed one child with severe atopic dermatitis and pronounced combined minerals and trace elements deficiency.  The fact that atopic dermatitis improved only when selenium deficiency had been compensated, led them to investigate the relationship between selenium and atopic dermatitis.  The authors conducted a randomized, prospective clinical study in 20 pediatric patients suffering from moderate and severe atopic dermatitis.  All children were on a normal diet.  The authors treated the patients only with sodium selenite orally for 12 weeks.  The authors measured selenium, zinc, copper, iron, B cells, T cells, CD4+ cells, CD8+ cells, NK cells, immunoglobulins, RAST, recall antigens, IL-4 and IFN-gamma in serum before, during and after therapy.  Results showed that the selenium levels in serum of our patients were lower than the selenium levels of 36 healthy children of similar age and sex (p<0.01).  After selenium therapy there was an immediate success in both groups (p<0.01).  This effect lasted until the end of the study.  Parallel to the clinical improvement the authors observed an elevation of selenium levels in blood (p<0.01), a reduction of IL-4 in serum (p<0.01) and an increase of IFN-gamma in serum (p<0.01).  Initially 5 of the 20 children had elevated total IgE levels in serum and 13 of the 20 children had increased specific IgE for one or more allergens in RAST which decreased remarkably 12 weeks after therapy (p<0.05).  Six weeks after therapy an increase of the skin response to recall-Ag (p<0.05). Initially 14 of the 20 patients had increased CD8+ T cells in peripheral blood was observed, which decreased 6 weeks after therapy (p<0.05).  This study demonstrated a positive effect of selenium therapy on atopic dermatitis in children.  Apart from its known scavenger properties, selenium modulates the immune system in patients with atopic dermatitis.  It improves the disturbed balance between T-helper cells type 1 (Th1) and T-helper cells type 2 (Th2) and possibly between CD8+ cytotoxic T cells type 1 (Tc1) and CD8+ cytotoxic T cells type 2 (Tc2).