Thursday, May 24, 2007

High selenium lamb as a health food

Selenium (Se) deficiency in humans is not considered to be an issue in the U.S.; however, recent research suggests that people who consume in excess (2 to 4 fold) of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of Se may reduce their chance for developing lung, colorectal, and prostrate cancer.

Selenium status in the U.S.In 2005, a study was undertaken at North Dakota State University to evaluate the influence of length of supra-supplementation of Se on the muscle Se status, plasma Se concentration, feedlot performance, and carcass characteristics of feedlot lambs. Sixteen Rambouillet and Rambouillet x Suffolk lambs were randomly assigned to one of four dietary treatments: supra-supplementation with selenoyeast for the final 56, 28, 14, or 0 days of feeding

In the study, body weight gain, carcass characteristics, and carcass quality traits were not affected by the length of supra-Se supplementation; however dry matter intake decreased linearly, possibly due to the decreased palatablity of the treatment diet.

While the non-supplemented treatment in the trial provided adequate Se to meet the RDA for humans, the Se concentration in lamb skeletal muscle for the 56-day Se-supplemented treatment would provide approximately 281% of the RDA for Se. No signs of Se toxicity were observed in the lambs.

Future efforts are needed to ascertain the targetted Se concentration in lamb muscle, the likely level of demand for a high-Se lamb product, and the marketing techniques required to deliver the product to the consumer. Similar studies have been undertaken with beef and pork.