Selenium and Vitamin E…more arsenal for the war against DMD?

I have to say that Todd Harrison from Defying Muscular Dystrophy has opened my eyes to an interesting supplement called Selenium.  Todd has Becker’s MD and has been using the VECTTOR for some time now but he just recently started taking a few other supplements including Selenium and Vitamin E.  In his posts on Facebook he has been updating us all on how much better he is doing after only being on this new regimen a few weeks.  These updates have made me jump into research mode.  Here’s what I’ve found and it’s a VERY interesting read.

What is Selenium? 

Selenium is a trace mineral that is essential to good health but required only in small amounts. Selenium is incorporated into proteins to make selenoproteins, which are important antioxidant enzymes. The antioxidant properties of selenoproteins help prevent cellular damage from free radicals. Free radicals are natural by-products of oxygen metabolism that may contribute to the development of chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease. Other selenoproteins help regulate thyroid function and play a role in the immune system. *(source)*

Selenium is in the soil.  The plants grown from the ground have it because of the soil, the animals have it because it’s in the soil, and we eat the animals and plants. Sounds like we shouldn’t be deficient?

What if the soil is deficient?

Do you and your family get enough greens?

Think of all the processed foods you eat that aren’t enriched with natural elements like Selenium.  How can we be sure we aren’t deficient in these vitamins?  Even worse, are our children deficient?  I was trying to think back to the last time the doctor has run a full blood panel on my son and he has never had that done.  I wonder what he is deficient in as far as his vitamin levels.

I hope you are still with me. This is going to seem long winded but I promise there is some intriguing info here. 

I started doing some research on muscular dystrophy in animals (specifically livestock and horses) and I’ve found some exciting things.  MD is most commonly called White Muscle Disease in animals.

Here’s a snippet from an article with some great info:

“Oregon State University researchers made a significant discovery in 1958. They found that the underlying cause of white muscle disease is a dietary deficiency of the trace element selenium (Se). There is a fairly clear-cut relationship between soil, plant, and animal factors.” *(Source)*

So, in 1958 researchers found the UNDERLYING cause of White Muscle Disease (or muscular dystrophy) and they then found out they could essentially CURE it by supplementing the animals diet with the right amount of Selenium.

You may be saying, “These are horses, not people. What does this have to do with Duchenne or any other form of MD?”  Glad you brought that up! 

Here’s a list of some of the signs and symptoms of White Muscle Disease found in horses: (Let me know if any sound like things you’ve heard the doctor say about Muscular Dystrophy)

  • elevated CK level on blood tests
  • muscle weakness
  • difficulty rising from the ground
  • impaired cardiac function
  • respiratory distress
  • only able to stand for short periods of time

Here’s a snippet from a paper written by M. Aleman at the Department of Medicine and Epidemiology at The University of California in 2007.

“Horses have a number of muscle disorders which share similar clinical, histopathological and in some cases molecular features with humans. Thus the horse can be considered as an animal model for human muscle diseases.” *(Source)*

So, since they can be used as a model for human muscle diseases and they have a mortality rate of 30% – 45% (source) for affected horses, why haven’t they cured muscular dystrophy in humans? (Keep in mind, that mortality rate seems low, but I have to wonder if all the horses are given the supplements in time.  The disease seems to move faster in horses. As humans maybe we have enough time to build back what muscle has been lost.  I have to say, even a mortality rate of 30%-45% seems way better than the 0% we have right now.)

It could be simply that Selenium and Vitamin E do not work to cure this in humans, right?  If that is the case, then why doesn’t it work? My other question is, have their been any trials on the effects of Selenium in people with Muscular Dystrophy? Let’s dig a little deeper!

Stick with me! I know you have to be a little intrigued!

Here’s a few of the positive studies:

  1. 5 patients with Muscular Dystrophy were studied and given 600 mg of vitamin E and a high amount of selenium (4,000 mcg Na2SeO3), which got very good results in all five patients studied. “All improved their grip strength. . ., two normalized their gait, another two can now sit down on their heels and stand up, one patient can now walk on his toes, one can now get up from lying on the floor without using a chair and two patients have improved their physical capacity. . . No side-effects were observed.” (Source: Orndahl G, Sellden U, Hallin S, Wetterqvist H, Rindby A, Selin E. Myotonic dystrophy treated with selenium and vitamin E. Acta Med Scand. 1986;219(4):407-14.)
  2. This wonderful quote from a Neurologist that wrote about using Vitamin E for a treatment back in 1951! “The peculiar muscular degeneration of muscular dystrophy may be produced in animals is caused and is only caused by lack of vitamin E. Human muscular dystrophy shows identically the same peculiar degeneration. The key to the cure of muscular dystrophy is vitamin E.” (Source: Rabinovitch R et al (1951) Neuromuscular disorders amenable to wheat germ oil therapy. J. Neurol. Neurosurg. Psychiat.14:95-100.)

And for now those are the only two studies I can find that shine any sort of hope onto this find.  I’ll do some more digging and see what else I can come up with.  To me it looks like most of these studies were probably done in the 1950s (around the time they figured out the treatment for horses) so I may have to dig up some old medical journals.  This could be an interesting adventure.

There are also quite a few studies out there that show no benefit from using these vitamins and a few that almost deter the use of them completely   They were mostly done in the 1980s. It is important to note that no adverse side effects were reported from any of these studies.

My thought on vitamins are simple.  If they are supposed to be in our body and we are deficient in them, it only makes sense to get them back to normal levels.  

I do want to say that high levels of Selenium in people can cause issues! Here is a dosage guide but AS ALWAYS consult a doctor before you change your child’s regimen or your own.  These dosage guides are the recommended dosage.  There are maximum allowable doses, that is why it’s important to discuss what amount your child can take daily. 

Children 1-3 20 micrograms/day
Children 4-8 30 micrograms/day
Children 9-13 40 micrograms/day
Adults and children 14 and up 55 micrograms/day
Pregnant women 60 micrograms/day
Breastfeeding women 70 micrograms/day

Ok.  I think I’ve given you enough information to soak in for a while.  Let me know what you guys think.  Are you intrigued at all by this information? Do you think I’m an idiot? Let me know! 🙂

Every cure starts with an idea.  Instead of sitting around waiting for the scientists to create one for us why don’t we do what we can.  We can take charge of our health and the health of our children.  Be conscious of your family’s food as well as their environment   Don’t be scared to ask for a blood panel to see if your children are vitamin deficient.  If they are deficient then supplement to make sure they have all they need to live healthier lives.  With no cure for muscular dystrophy out there all we can do is make sure life is lived to the fullest.  The best way to do that is try to naturally heal.  Take charge of your family’s health by not being afraid to ask questions and always, ALWAYS do your own research.

Thanks for taking the time to read this long winded post.  I hope it can help those who are willing to think outside the box.




Our family had a fantastic Easter.  The weather was beautiful and the food was even better. What was so great about this weekend was definitely watching the kids hunt eggs. I love to watch their little faces light up every time they find one.  

The main reason for my post today is to brag about Levi’s energy levels.  This kid has been on the go, non-stop.  Friday, after school, he ran around the yard playing for at least an hour straight.  He was running at a faster pace than normal and we noticed his gait was much more normal.  Then, our daughter, grabs the volleyball to throw it to Levi, and he catches it! We were so shocked we both started applauding him.  He hasn’t caught a ball in as long as I can remember.  This may not seem huge to most people but if you have a child with DMD, you know what these little things mean.  

Not only has his energy level been sky high, he has been so playful and funny lately.  He’s cracking jokes and being a normal gross boy and WE LOVE IT!  We have seen a definite change in Levi this week.  It’s been about two weeks on the new path for the Vecttor and I can say it is working. 

The best thing is that Levi is trying to do things that he wasn’t trying to do anymore. We’ve noticed that he is pushing himself harder and really trying to see what his body will do.  It’s almost like watching him as a toddler all over again. 

The last two weeks have been a huge WIN for Levi in his fight against Duchenne and we couldn’t be happier to watch our son flourish in the face of adversity.  Image