Selenium can be found in certain foods. It is distributed to nearly every cell particularly in the kidneys, liver, pancreas, spleen and testes. The most potent source for selenium is the Brazil nut. A single nut contains 120 mcg which is twice the recommended dietary allowance. It could also be found in poultry, meat, grains, oats and brown rice. The concentration of selenium in food sources depends to a large extent on the level of selenium in the soil in which the plant grew and which the animal ate. The past two decades showed steady progress in the study of selenium. Scientist began to understand its most basic function which is to prevent disease.
Selenium boosts the immune system and combats infection. Consequently, it increases the body’s defense against harmful bacteria, viruses and cancer cells. Every cell in the body needs a hormone from the thyroid gland that selenium helps to convert into its active form. It is most popular for being an antioxidant. Aside from these perceived effects, it is also known to manifest the following health benefits:
- It prevents cancer. According to a study conducted on selenium it was found out that selenium prevents the formation of tumors.
- It protect against heart attack and stroke.
- It guard against cataracts and macular degeneration. It does this seeming miracle by providing antioxidant actions that combats free radicals.
- It heals cold sores and shingles due to its immune-system booster properties.
- It combats inflammation that is associated with lupus. You can further increase this capacity by combining selenium with vitamin E. Selenium/vitamin E combination also helps other types of inflammatory diseases too such as psoriases, eczema and rheumatoid. Those afflicted with lupus can benefit from it anti-inflammatory properties.
The recommended dietary allowance for selenium is 55 mcg for women and 70 mcg for men. One can readily obtain selenium through their diet and it seldom happen that deficiency occurs in industrialized countries.
For those that lack sufficient selenium, the following symptoms may manifest: muscle weakness and fatigue. If the problem continues it might result to risk for cancer, immune-system problems, heart disease and various inflammatory conditions. For those that have too much selenium in their body could cause toxic reactions. Other symptoms of overdose include: depression, anxiety and garlicky odor from breath and perspiration.
To prevent the effects of aging and protect against cancer, take 400 mcg daily.
To prevent cataracts and macular degeneration, take 200 to 400 mcg daily.
To treat cold sores and shingles, take 600 mcg daily during flare-ups only.
Check also product labels for the recommended dosage.
To get the most effect out of selenium, take it together with 400 IU vitamin E per day. To get the antioxidant benefits of selenium take a high potency antioxidant blend of selenium, vitamins C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, grape seed and green tea extracts, alpha-lipoic acid, coenzyme Q10 and N-acetylsysteine (NAC). There are no known drugs or nutrient interactions connected with selenium. Do not take high dosages – 900 mcg one time or 600 mcg daily for a long period- to prevent toxic build up in your system.