Selenium is an essential nutrient that offers antioxidant function, which helps to boost the immune system. Found in soil, plants absorb it and it does not diminish when processed. This trace mineral is essential in the human body as it assists both the immune system and operation of the thyroid gland.
These findings do make sense as selenium fights free radicals and therefore it will help those who suffer from arthritis and certain heart conditions. Poor heart function and cardiomegaly (enlarged heart) are often linked to this deficiency; this is because it reduces the stickiness of the blood and at the same time, decreasing clotting. At the same time, good (HDL) cholesterol is increased and bad (LDL) cholesterol lowered.
With its immune-boosting properties, selenium assists the body in fighting disease. It fights against herpes, which causes shingles and cold sores and current studies are performed to test its efficiency against HIV and AIDS. The anti-inflammatory properties are thought to be beneficial against conditions that include eczema, lupus, psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis.
In addition to low levels of nutrition provided by fresh produce, gastrointestinal disorders or gastric surgery could hamper the absorption of sufficient nutrients. These disorders, which include Chron's Disease, are known to inhibit the absorption of selenium. Excess selenium may, in rare cases cause selenosis. This condition manifests in symptoms such as mild nerve damage, blotchy nails, hair loss and stomach upsets. This is however a rare condition and which is usually diagnosed in people who were involved in industrial accidents.
More research is required to prove a link to increased selenium levels and a reduced rate of mortality amongst cancer patients. However, it is believed that the incidence of certain cancer types is reduced because of selenium. These cancers include cancer of the prostate, lunch and colorectal cancer. This research also suggests that cancer risk is affected in two different ways. Apart from the anti-oxidant properties that protect the body from the affects of free radicals, it is also thought to prevent or slow the growth of tumors. This helps to enhance the activity of immune cells and to suppress the circulation of blood to the tumor.
Soybeans, wheat and corn are some of the best sources of selenomethionine. This is the analogue form of methionine and it can be used by the body to replace methionine. It serves as storage for selenium in the tissues and organs. It is thought to be the form of selenium, which is best absorbed and utilized. Supplements may contain substances that are not derived from plants or other organic sources. These substances usually include sodium selenate and sodium selenite.
This trace mineral affects many other body processes, but its importance was only realized in the late 1970s. Since then, it was found to be helpful in preventing cancer of the liver, pancreas, esophagus, bladder, rectum, cervix and ovaries. It also showed hope in preventing leukemia. Supplementing with selenium may prevent with causes of impaired vision, such as macular degeneration and cataracts. These conditions are common, especially in the elderly.
Since the soil in which vegetables are grown determines the amount of trace elements provided by the food sources, it is not easy to meet the required daily intake for optimum health. Therefore, supplementation is often necessary. The RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) of Selenium is 55 mcg per day for adults. Deficiencies are common in countries such as
|The disease fighting properties of Selenium - why you should supplement |
By Neil Butterfield
|Neil Butterfield is the owner and founder of Mineralife LLC. Neil has been actively involved in the health and fitness industry for over 10 years and has studied the importance of minerals to human health extensively. He is currently working towards obtai|