Some interesting facts about selenium:
- Selenium is an essential mineral
Selenium is required in relatively large amounts, to enable good health and need to be taken in the form of food in the diet as the body cannot make them. You need to eat food with seleium every single day
- Selenium is important for the health of the thyroid gland
Selenium is of the two most important minerals for the thyroid gland (the other is iodine). Selenium is required by the thyroid gland to help prevent goitre (where the thyroid gland increases in size and stops working as effectively) and prevent hypothyroidism, which affects not just the thyroid gland, but the whole body, which slows down due to they thyroid gland's impact on metabolism in the body on a general level. The thyroid gland contains the highest levels of selenium of any other tissue in the whole body.
- Selenium works even better with the other antioxidants
The antioxidant action of selenium is fortified when it is in the company of other antioxidants - vitamin E and perhaps also vitamin A. Several studies have shown the synergistic effect of these antioxidants when they are combined - selenium when combined with vitamin E has more potent antioxidant effects than just either alone (although both are really potent antioxidants, they are even more powerful when they are used together). The studies have shown that people who have died of cancer have been found to have lower blood levels of selenium, vitamin E and vitamin A, when compared to healthy (cancer-free) people.
Selenium is of the two most important minerals for the thyroid gland, to ensure it is healthy and functioning properly
- Selenium is a potent antioxidant
Selenium is a potent antioxidant which stops the potentially damaging effects that can be caused by free radicals. Selenium does this by activating the antioxidant amino acid glutathione through to the enzyme glutathione peroxidase, which is the substance that helps protect the body cells from the damaging oxidisation effects of free radicals. Studies have shown when selenium has been supplemented it provides a protective antioxidant effect on the body, lessening the effects of many conditions that proliferate under oxidative stress, such as cancer, heart disease and viral illnesses. Other research shows that selenium helps to repair cells in the lungs, heart, thyroid and other tissues damaged by oxidative stress. Selenium's antioxidant actions may help prevent the the two most common causes of impaired vision and blindness in older people, cataracts and macular degeneration, by fighting and neutralising free radicals that attribute to these conditions.
- Selenium has anti-ageing properties
Selenium's role as an antioxidant, fighting and neutralising the effects of free radicals protects the body cells from oxidative damage, including ageing of the cells.
- Selenomethionine is the safest form of selenium
The safest supplementation form of selenium is selenomethionine, which has a selenium molecule attached to a methionine molecule to create this compound. The methionine helps to detoxify any excess selenium (as selenium can cause toxic symptoms when it is taken in excess) and ensures that the selenium performs its duties effectively. Sodium selenate is another supplement form, which is less toxic than sodium selenite.