Selenium - an antioxidant trace element 
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 Selenium - an antioxidant trace element

Selenium - an antioxidant trace element
Selenium is a trace element, the importance of which for the human body
has been discovered only fairly recently. Selenium is important to prevent
free radical damage to cells, and it supports immune function.

Like with many other essential trace elements, the importance of selenium
intake for the proper functioning of the human body (and the bodies of
many other mammals, for that matter) has been discovered by studying
specific illnesses caused by an almost complete lack of selenium in the
diet. Not that such diseases would occur very often. They have been
limited to certain areas of China where the soil shows an extraordinary
lack of selenium. Primarily, if humans live on a diet that contains no
selenium, or very low amounts of selenium, their immune systems will be

Another effect of a lack of selenium will only be noticed in the long
range: as overall aging is very much related to free-radical damage, and
as selenium has a function in protecting cells from free radical damage,
those not taking care of a sufficient selenium intake may just age a
little bit faster.

There have also been studies that showed that selenium had a clear
function in the prevention of some cancers. Health guru Dr. Weil in early
1999 referred to a scientific study of 1312 participants from the Eastern
coastal plains region of the US where selenium levels in the soil are low.
Some of the participants received selenium supplements of 200 micrograms,
while others where given placebos. The study was conducted for
four-and-one-half years. Dr. Weil: "The people who had taken selenium had
63 percent fewer prostate cancers, 58 percent fewer colorectal cancers,
and 46 percent fewer lung cancers than the rest of the group. Overall,
there were 39 percent fewer new cancers among those taking selenium. And
altogether, half as many died from their cancer."

Traditionally, humans get their selenium through plants they eat, with
plants taking up selenium from the soil. If you live in an area where the
soil contains little selenium, and if you eat only local vegetables and
fruit, or if your dietary intake of selenium is low because you eat almost
no vegetables and fruit, you may have an advantage of taking selenium
supplements. Selenium is also one of the supplements, Dr. Weil takes
himself. In his own words: " I will continue to take my 200 micrograms of
selenium a day - the same dose used in the study - and suggest that you do

Those with a certain distrust towards synthetic forms of">food
supplementation can take care that their diets contain enough selenium by
consuming about two brazil nuts a day. A substantial percentage of brazil
nuts are indeed grown in Brazil, in a region with a soil high in selenium.
The disadvantage in comparison to selenium in pill form: the selenium
contents in brazil nuts is not as controllable, and theoretically, if your
brazil nuts are grown not in Brazil but some place where the selenium
contents in the soil are low, you may after all not get the selenium you
bargained for.

Sun, 23 Nov 2003 01:55:00 GMT
 [ 1 post ] 

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