Study – Selenium yeast supplements fight viral infection

Dietary selenium yeast supplementation seems to be able to boost the immunity in animals and help fight porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2) infection in mice, according to a study conducted by scientists in China.

For the study, 48 Kin Ming female mice were randomly assigned to receive a selenium yeast supplement or a placebo. After three days of adaptive feeding and 15 days of treatment with the study feed, mice were then challenged by intraperitoneal injection of PCVs.

At 5, 10, 15 and 20 days after the infection, total circuating superoxide dismutase activity (indicator for the antioxidant power), malondialdehyde (indicator for oxidation) and tumor necrosis factor alpha ( TNF-α), C-reactive protein (CRP) and interleukin-1 beta (IL-1β) concentrations (inflammation). In the meantime, the PCV2 virus loads in the liver, spleen and lung were measured and lesions in the liver, spleen and lung were also microscopically examined.

Dietary selenium yeast supplementation was found to lower the circulating TNF-α, but nothing else except that the selenium yeast supplementation significantly decreased lesions in the lung and spleen, compared with control animals.

The study suggests that selenium yeast supplementation attenuates the PCV2 infection by reducing inflammation and protecting against cellular damage to the organs induced by the virus.

Selenium rich foods are available including Brazil nuts, shiitake/white button mushroom, lima/pinto beans, chia seeds, brown rice, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, flaxseeds, broccoli, cabbage, and spinach among others.  But selenium yeast is often used as a dietary supplement or as a supplemental ingredient. (Staff at

Liu G, Yang G, Guan G, Zhang Y, Ren W, Yin J, Aguilar YM, Luo W, Fang J, Yu X, Li T, Yin Y. Effect of Dietary Selenium Yeast Supplementation on Porcine Circovirus Type 2 (PCV2) Infections in Mice. PLoS One. 2015 Feb 27;10(2):e0115833.

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