Dr. Jim Beaton has been invited to the 2009 Farm Forum held in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan on Nov 18-19 to speak about the importance of Selenium in Human and Animal Health. The abstract was co-written with Dr. Harold Foster, and focuses on the importance of Selenium, discusses benefits derived from it and puts forward suggestions on ways to incorporate it's use into the farming industry. For more information on the abstract or the conference, visit http://www.thefarmforumevent.com/speakers/.
Abstract: Attention to the Se levels in plants first began in the 1930’s when certain livestock disorders such as “alkali disease” and “blind staggers” occured in animals grazing forages on seleniferous or high Se-containing soils. Although Se is apparently not required for plant growth, stimulatory effects at low concentration have been occasionally reported. There are, however, noteworthy interactions of Se with essential plant nutrients and examples are included in the paper.
The important benefits of Se at low concentrations in animal nutrition are well known. Deficiencies of Se in cattle and sheep result in muscular dystrophy or white muscle disease which can be corrected by therapeutic measures or by Se fertilization of forages for grazing animals including cattle, goats, and sheep. Other deficiency symptoms include poor reproductive performance, as well as hair and feather loss.
Viral pandemics in humans, insects, and animals are facilitated by dietary Se deficiencies. Selenium is a vital component of the selenoenzyme, glutathione peroxidise, which is an antioxidant and essential in immune systems for warding off infections. The very important contribution of Se in requisite functioning of human immune systems for reversing and preventing recurrence of HIV/AIDS and other viral infections will be discussed in our paper.
Levels of Se in soils and major crops of western Canada and recent reports of the benefits of Se in correction of arsenic toxicity in humans will also be discussed.