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The Significance of Selenium

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Depression patients may benefit from supplementing with glutathione, NAC, & selenium, according to Michael Maes, et al.

  [ 12 votes ]   [ Discuss This Article ] • May 16, 2011

Article Title
Lower whole blood glutathione peroxidase (GPX) activity in depression, but not in myalgic encephalomyelitis / chronic fatigue syndrome: Another pathway that may be associated with coronary artery disease and neuroprogression in depression – Source: Neuroendocrinology Letters, Apr 9, 2011

By Michael Maes, et al.


Background: Major depression and myalgic encephalomyelitis / chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) are two disorders accompanied by an upregulation of the inflammatory and oxidative and nitrosative (IO&NS) pathways and a decreased antioxidant status.

Moreover, depression is accompanied by disorders in inflammatory and neuroprogressive (IN-PRO) pathways.

Methods: This study examines whole blood glutathione peroxidase (GPX) in depression and in ME/CFS;

GPX is an enzyme that:

• Reduces hydroperoxides by oxidizing glutathione

• And consequently protects the cells from oxidative damage [is an antioxidant].

Blood was sampled in 39 patients with depression, 40 patients with ME/CFS, and 24 normal volunteers.

Whole blood was analyzed for GPX activity using the Ransel assay (Randox). Severity of illness was measured by means of the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS) and the Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Rating Scale (FF scale).

Results: We found that:

• Whole blood GPX activity was significantly (p=0.001) lower in depressed patients than in normal controls. [Probability that this finding resulted by chance about 1 in 1,000.]

• And that there were no significant differences between ME/CFS and controls.

• In depression and ME/CFS, there were significant and inverse relationships between GPX activity and the FF items, depressed mood and autonomic symptoms [meaning lower GPX activity was associated with more pronounced symptoms, and vice-versa].

• In depression, there were significant and negative correlations between whole blood GPX and the HDRS score and autonomic symptoms [again, lower GPX, more severe symptoms, & vice-versa].


The results show that lowered whole blood glutathione peroxidase (GPX) activity contributes to the lowered antioxidant status in depression.

Since GPX activity is a predictor of neuroprogression and coronary artery disease (CAD), lowered GPX activity in depression contributes to the IN-PRO pathways and the comorbidity between depression and CAD.

Our results suggest that patients with depression would benefit from Ebselen or a supplementation with glutathione, N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine [NAC] and selenium.

Source: Neuroendocrinology Letters, Apr 9, 2011;32(2). PubMed ID: 21552194, by Maes M, Mihaylova I, Kubera M, Uytterhoeven M, Vrydags N, Bosmans E. Piyavate Hospital, Bangkok, Thailand.

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