Written By Liz Oakes
The benefits of selenium are becoming more well-known especially in the area of cancer treatment, and this mineral also aids the thyroid and assists removal of harmful toxins.
This mineral has a role in ensuring the health of the hair, nails and skin.
It will help to cut down flaky scalp problems, as it helps the skin to be more elastic.
Other skin conditions may also benefit from using selenium, in particular acne, eczema and rosacea, as well as aiding the healing of sunburn and other skin burns.
This trace mineral is vital to humans and is essential to activate glutathione peroxidase.
This antioxidant enzyme helps the body to deal with toxicity from mercury, and other toxic minerals, commonly found in people who have amalgam fillings.
Using selenium supplements is commonly part of programs for heavy metal detoxification that are associated with amalgam poisoning from dental amalgam.
As Selenium activates glutathione peroxidase, an important antioxidant enzyme that neutralizes free radicals, it plays an valuable role in the body to help a number of health conditions.
Studies have noted the benefits of selenium use for cardiovascular and immune health, thyroid hormone metabolism and for protection against certain cancers. This mineral is normally present in small amounts throughout the body.
It is generally present in higher amounts within the liver, pancreas, spleen and kidneys and for men within the testes as it is a constituent of healthy semen.
It has a strong role as an antioxidant and will help high blood pressure. There are benefits of selenium to aid coronary heart disease, as it thins the blood and may prevent strokes and heart attacks.
It is also known to be helpful to aid pancreatic function and works synergistically with Vitamin E and zinc to benefit an enlarged prostrate.
There have been a number of clinical trials using selenium for cancer, and it was shown to significantly reduce the risk of prostrate, ovarian, cervical, lung, liver, rectal and gastro-intestinal cancers.
It aids a number of health conditions where inflammation is involved, and is one of the remedies that help gout.
It is amongst the arthritis natural remedies, as it has an active anti-inflammatory role, and will help the inflammation of arthritis, gout and auto immune diseases. It also aids muscle problems that are associated with inflammation.
The antioxidant enzyme glutathione peroxidase, which is activated by this mineral, helps with heavy metal detoxification.
There are benefits of selenium to aid your body to deal with toxicity in the body from amalgam poisoning, caused by amalgam fillings.
It is used by biological dentists as part of their nutritional programs connected to amalgam removal.
This is because glutathione peroxidase helps the body to bind heavy metals such as toxic mercury, silver and other minerals contained in dental amalgam.
It is said to be most effective in areas of the brain and kidneys where mercury is often found.
It also helps to prevent a deficiency of both zinc and copper as these minerals are often excreted by the body, in reaction to high levels of mercury.
The organic selenium and other enzymes in garlic is known to be particularly useful to aid the body to excrete mercury.
Note: This process is best done under the administration of your holistic dentist as it requires specific amounts so that it does not cause other side effects from the mercury being freed in your body.
Lowered selenium levels may make you more liable to have anxiety, stress, depression and over time can lead to adrenal gland exhaustion.
The human thyroid glands release enzymes that aid normal health and growth, and this is another important area where the body requires this mineral for normal body functions.
The use of selenium supplements may be indicated if you have any health issues that are associated with a selenium deficiency.
It is also strongly associated with high levels of infections and to new strains of influenza and viral outbreaks.
This is particularly so in areas that have very low levels of selenium in the soil where they source their food, such as areas of Africa and China.
Malnutrition from eating a bad diet for long periods may also make you become selenium deficient. A low level of serum selenium is also linked to male infertility.
In studies where men took selenium supplements, it increased the chances of conceptions, where it related to male sub-fertility.
There are benefits of selenium to fight infections, as it aids the production of white blood cells, as it is one of the natural immune system boosters.
Heart disease and cancer are two specific areas that are related to a deficiency of selenium, and it is one of the natural thyroid remedies.
Foods that used to be labeled as excellent selenium food sources may not be any longer, because so many areas now have soil that has been depleted of this nutrient, particularly in large areas of the United States and New Zealand.
There are a number of theories that selenium deficiency is one of the causes of cancer, with a number of studies noting a correlation between soils low in selenium and cancer.
Unless you are sure that are grown in an area that has not been depleted of selenium in the soil, you cannot be sure how much selenium they will contain.
There are a number of foods with selenium in them, that been traditionally known as foods rich in selenium.
It may be beneficial to add them into your diet, in particular organically grown Brazil nuts may be beneficial.
A benefit of many foods containing this mineral, is that you may also increase the amount of zinc in your diet, so this may be an added benefit.
There are a number of herbs that contain selenium as well, so if you are using organic natural herb based remedies from this group, be aware that you may also be getting more of this mineral from this source.
These herbs include alfalfa, burdock root, garlic, as mentioned above.
Other herbs include ginseng, chamomile, catnip, fenugreek, lemon grass, nettles, parsley, peppermint, milk thistle, rose hips and yarrow.
If you feel you have a specific need for this mineral it may be advisable to take a supplement.
This may be particularly valuable if you are not sure if the food is sourced from an area where the soil contains this mineral.
Although there are many benefits of Selenium, it is a trace mineral, which means that the amount needed is low. Having too much of this valuable mineral can also cause health problems.
The symptoms of selenosis (excessively high levels of selenium) includes arthritis, brittle nails and garlicky breath, as well as tooth loss, skin eruptions and yellowish skin.
Although there is no RDA set for Selenium, the US and Canadian official UL ('upper level') is 400 micrograms per day.
Typical dosages in controlled studies were set at 100 to 200 mcg per day. If you are using herbal medicines as mentioned above that have selenium in them, do not take it as a supplement as well.
If you are taking vitamin supplements that contain minerals, as well as eating Brazil nuts or other foods high in selenium you may get too much, and you may end up having worse health problems than you were trying to treat.
Make sure you also take into account any other remedies you be taking, as many one a day vitamin supplements may also contain selenium and other minerals so take this into consideration as well.