By now, you're probably aware that nearly 70% of those who contract the Ebola virus will die. This number is tragic and quite scary. But why doesn't the virus kill everyone? The typical answers range from immune system strength to medical care. My cousin, who was a missionary in Sierra Leone, says some of the African people will tell you that those who survive are in good favor with the gods. But what if the real answer was as simple as a mineral deficiency?
Well, research that's nearly 20 years old suggests a deficiency in selenium may cause the virus to turn deadly.
Back in 1995, the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine found that certain strains of Ebola have a selenoprotein that creates "an unprecedented selenium demand upon the host, potentially leading to severe lipid peroxidation and cell membrane destruction." The resulting selenium deficiency could allow the hemorrhaging that leads to death.
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Selenium has an anti-clotting effect. A deficiency can cause the blood to clot. And when a severe deficiency occurs, it can lead to thrombosis (severe clotting in a localized area) and even hemorrhaging. In fact, when researchers put animals into a state of severe selenium deficiency, hemorrhaging is common. But this rarely happens in humans because there's enough selenium in most people's diets to prevent this severe problem.
However, when this selenoprotein zaps your body's selenium supply, you can suffer from hemorrhaging and death. What's interesting is that not every form of Ebola has this protein. The Ebola Reston strain, for instance, doesn't carry this protein. And this strain does not cause disease in humans.
So is it possible that simply treating Ebola patients with selenium could spare their lives?
We don't know the answer yet. Even though this information came out nearly 20 years ago, no one has ever tested it on Ebola. However, the Chinese have used selenium to treat other infectious hemorrhagic fevers with great success. So it's quite possible that large doses of selenium could help those with Ebola survive the illness.
While taking oral selenium probably isn't enough to overcome the extreme depletion of the mineral when the protein is present, it could still help avoid the disease. Selenium is a known immune booster. And it helps regulate your blood's clotting mechanism. So it's vital you take enough selenium on a daily basis.
The standard daily dose for selenium is 200 mcg, which is the amount you'll find in Healthy Resolve. If you think you need to take more than this, check with your doctor to make sure it's necessary and for the proper dose.
Your insider for better health,
Steve Kroening is the editor of Nutrient Insider, a twice-a-week email newsletter that brings you the latest healing breakthroughs from the world of nutrition and dietary supplements. For over 20 years, Steve has worked hand-in-hand with some of the nation's top doctors, including Drs. Robert Rowen, Frank Shallenberger, Nan Fuchs, William Campbell Douglass, and best-selling author James Balch. Steve is the author of the book Practical Guide to Home Remedies. As a health journalist, Steve's articles have appeared in countless magazines, blogs, and websites.
The Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine, Vol. 10, No.2, 1995