Can Selenium Improve Eye Symptoms of Graves’ Disease?

June 23, 2011

Graves’ disease, an autoimmune disorder which is a common cause of hyperthyroidism, can be accompanied by symptoms in the eye including pain, swelling and redness in about half of patients.  The optimal treatment for this condition is not fully understood and only one in five patients see the symptoms abate by themselves.

A recent large, multi-center study done in Europe showed that the antioxidant selenium (200 micrograms per day) greatly improved the eye symptom-specific quality of life of Graves’ disease patients compared to a placebo after 6 months of treatment.  This included both visual function and physical appearance. The regimen did not cause any adverse effects.  On the other hand, the anti-inflammatory agent pentoxifylline showed no benefit compared to placebo and had adverse effects such as nausea.

For the study abstract in the New England Journal of Medicine, click here.

Risa Schulman, PhD
Expert, Healthy Food and Dietary Supplement Science, Marketing and Regulatory




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