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COVID-19 Severity Is Associated with Selenium Intake among Young Adults with Low Selenium and Zinc Intake in North Carolina

Larvie et al., Current Developments in Nutrition, doi:10.1016/j.cdnut.2023.100044
Feb 2023  
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Analysis of 97 COVID-19 patients in the USA, showing selenium intake inversely associated with COVID-19 severity among individuals with below median intake.
Larvie et al., 8 Feb 2023, USA, peer-reviewed, survey, 4 authors.
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COVID-19 Severity Is Associated with Selenium Intake among Young Adults with Low Selenium and Zinc Intake in North Carolina
Doreen Y Larvie, Maryanne T Perrin, George L Donati, Seth M Armah
Current Developments in Nutrition, doi:10.1016/j.cdnut.2023.100044
Background: The effects of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) remain a global public health emergency because of the ensuing economic burden and death. With robust research into vaccines, antibody treatments, and antiviral drugs for COVID-19, there is still a dearth of evidence on the role of an individual's nutritional status on the severity of COVID-19. Objective: This study aimed to investigate the association between selenium (Se) and zinc (Zn) status and COVID-19 severity among individuals diagnosed with COVID-19 in North Carolina. Methods: Subjects (n ¼ 106) were recruited remotely as part of the Nutrition and COVID-19 in North Carolina (NC-NC) study and filled out online screening questionnaires and dietary surveys. Toenail samples from 97 participants were analyzed to determine Se and Zn concentrations. To assess the severity of severe acute respiratory coronavirus (SARS-CoV)-2 infection, subjects were asked about the presence and duration of 10 commonly reported symptoms. These responses were used to calculate a COVID-19 severity index (CSI). The relationship between Se and Zn status (intake and toenail concentrations) and CSI was explored using a regression analysis. Results: Our results showed that the median (25th, 75th percentiles) dietary Se and Zn intake from selected food sources were 65.2 μg (43.2, 112.9) and 4.3 mg (1.8, 8), respectively. Headache, cough, loss of smell or taste, and fever were reported by at least half of the participants. In stepwise regression analysis, among individuals with low Se and Zn intake (below the median), Se intake was inversely associated with increasing CSI (β ¼ À0.66; 95% CI: À1.21, À0.11; P ¼ 0.02). Conclusions: Findings from this study support a potential benefit of increasing the intake of dietary Se to mitigate the severity of SARS-CoV-2 infection.
Author disclosures All authors report no conflicts of interest. Declaration of interests The authors declare the following financial interests/personal relationships which may be considered as potential competing interests: Seth Armah reports financial support was provided by North Carolina Policy Collaboratory.
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