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Selenium and Muscular Dystrophy (Research)

Peer-Reviewed Professional Journals

·    Orndahl, G., et al.  Selenium therapy of myotonic dystrophy.  Acta Med Scand.  213:237-239, 1983.

In patients with myotonic dystrophy, severity of the disease is strongly correlated with low selenium status.  The authors speculate that muscular dystrophy may be caused by low selenium levels.  There is a report of one succesful treatment of muscular dystrophy with high doses (2,000 mcg per day) of selenium combined with vitamin E.  This treatment resulted in improvement of all symptoms after 18 months of treatment with improvement still continuing.  No side effects were observed.

·    Orndahl, G.  Myotonic dystrophy treated with selenium and vitamin E.  Acta Med Scand.  219(4):407-414, 1986.

It has previously been reported that vitamin E combined with selenium was a successful treatment of muscular dystrophy in one patient.  This paper deals with the treatment of a further five patients with muscular dystrophy in different stages.  All five patients improved subjectively and objectively in two or more respects.  All improved their grip strength according to vigorimeter measurements, two normalized their gait, another two can now sit down on their heels and stand up, one patient can now walk on his toes, one can now get up from lying on the floor without using a chair and two patients have improved their physical capacity.  Patients in early stages of the disease improved faster and more markedly than those in late stages.  Electromyographical measurements also showed improvements, in that the myotonic discharges had diminished.  The daily dose was 4 mg of Na2SeO3 and 600 mg of vitamin E.  Serum concentration of selenium increased in all patients at the beginning of the treatment, but stabilized at a level slightly above the normal.  No side effects were observed.

·    Orndahl, G.  Selenium treatment of myotonic dystrophy.  Trace Elment - Analytical Chemistry in Med and Biol.  4:598-604, 1987.

·    Orndahl, G., et al.  Selenium therapy of myotonic dystrophy.  Acta Med Scand.  213(3):237-239, 1983.

A patient with myotonic dystrophy (MD) has been treated for two years with selenium and vitamin E.  The serum selenium concentration and other relevant variables were continuously studied.  The patient showed a marked subjective and objective improvement with increased muscular strength and regression of pathological electromyographic findings.  This is the first report of successful treatment of MD.


·    Selenium in health and disease:  a review.  Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr.  37(3):211-228, 1997.

Other Professional Journals

·    Lyons, G., et al.  Nutriprevention of disease with high-selenium wheat.  Journal of the Australian College of Nutritional & Environmental Medicine.  22(3):3-9, 2003.

Selenium (especially sodium selenite) may alleviate muscular dystrophy.