Professor at the Medical College of Wisconsin, USA, Dr. Fritz Sieber
Expert Warns Against Incorrect Selenium Use
MONROVIA, November 24 (LINA) - A professor at the Medical College of Wisconsin, USA, Dr. Fritz Sieber, has expressed concern that incorrect information about the medical use of selenium will lead to “disappointing results and may prompt treatment centers to reject this potentially very useful drug.”
In a statement sent to the Liberia News Agency over the weekend from Wisconsin, Professor Sieber recommends “four simple rules of thumb.”
Firstly, on the use of the right kind of selenium, Prof. Sieber said the only type of selenium that is known to be beneficial in critically ill patients with Ebola-like symptoms is sodium selenite.
According to him, Selenite works in ways that are different from the ways organic selenium preparations such as selenomethionine or yeast extract work.
Organic selenium is heavily promoted on the Internet and by the supplement industry but should not be expected to do much good when given to Ebola patients.
Selenomethionine is an amino acide-based type of organic selenium, and selenium is an essential trace element for human and other animals.
Dr. Sieber urged those involved to use selenite at the recommended (high) dose of 2 mg per day for 9 days. He said in critically ill patients, selenium has to be used like a drug, not like a nutritional supplement.
The ten-fold lower doses that are typically used as nutritional supplements cannot be expected to save Ebola patients, said Sieber, who has been working on selenium for almost 30 years.
“Don’t mix selenite with vitamin C! Sodium selenite and vitamin C can react with each other. As a result, selenite is reduced to elemental selenium, which is biologically inactive,” he emphasized.
He cautioned medical personnel to administer the selenite as a bolus - that is, take it all at once if it is taken by mouth, or infuse it over a period of 30-60 minutes if it is given by IV infusion,” adding, “do not spread it out over 24 hours”.
Of late, there has been discussions about introducing selenium, a nutritional supplement that helps boost the immune system, as one of the interventions in treating the Ebola virus.
It is applied in cases of critical infections like HIV and Ebola not as a cure but as a booster of the immune system.