It was about 200 years ago that a Swedish chemist discovered selenium, which today is considered an essential mineral. It has anti-inflammatory potential and can serve as a cancer preventative. Make no mistakes about it, this is a powerful mineral loaded with antioxidants. However, it is essential to keep it to a minimum in order for it to provide benefits, rather than adverse effects. For instance, an excessive amount of selenium may put you at risk of developing diabetes. Learn what a selenium deficiency can do to your health.
Selenium Can Change Your Life and Your Health
Worldwide, there is a selenium deficiency by as much as 1 billion people! You are at increased risk of selenium deficiency if you smoke, consume alcohol, take birth control pills, or even have an nutrient-absorption problem. Most people who just eat and don’t supplement their diet with vitamins will rarely overdose on selenium. So, those who do take supplements should beware of the proper dosage.
One of the key benefits of selenium is that they get rid of free radicals within the body. Free radicals happen naturally, but when too much is going on, it can lead to a slew of health issues with regards to tissue and organ damage. They also cause cell damage.
Selenium Deficiency and Thyroid Function
A selenium deficiency may lead to thyroid issues. There is more selenium in the thyroid than any other body organ (per gram). Autoimmune thyroid problems, such as those associated with Hashimoto’s disease, will require selenium supplementation. Supplementing the diet with selenium will decrease the anti-thyroid antibody levels.
Selenium plays an important role in helping the body fight disease by raising the white blood cell count. This can help people be more immune to infections. It is important that supplementation be under the careful watch of a doctor, since the window between the optimum levels and deficiency can be quite narrow.
With regards to cancer, selenium supplementation may protect against the cancer epidemic. Also, low levels of selenium may be a contributing factor to worsening heart failure. Atherosclerosis also worsens with selenium deficiency.
Regarding asthma, studies have found that low levels of selenium may be related to higher incidences of asthma attacks.
Natural Sources of Selenium
Wild caught salmon, from Alaska, is one of the top sources of selenium. Others include grass fed organic beef and free range organic turkey. Brazil nuts and sunflower seeds also contain high amounts of selenium. Mushrooms, garlic, and onions are also good sources of selenium.
Source: Dr. Mercola