Selenium is a trace mineral that is essential to good health, but only required in small amounts. Selenium deficiency can lead to problems such as Keshan disease, gastrointestinal issues such as Crohn’s and impact thyroid function when deficient in iodine as well.
The Natural Standard Research collaboration epidemiological data suggests an association between low selenium levels in humans and the risk of cardiomyopathy, cardiovascular disease and cancer. Clinical trials have shown that the addition of 200 mcg of selenium may reduce the risk of certain cancers.These studies showed a reduction in breast cancer by 82%, colon and rectal cancer by 69% and lung cancer by 39%. Selenium is thought to stop carcinogenic processes and prevent the formation of tumors. It has antioxidant properties and promotes endocrine balance.
Most people think we can get this from our food, but unfortunately modern farming methods do not remineralize the soil with each planting, and therefore most of the selenium has been used up in previous plantings. So what can we do?
Of course you can supplement but this is where the danger lies. It can be toxic at high levels and cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, gastrointestinal problems, hair loss, fatigue, mood swings, neurological problems, pulmonary edema, cirrhosis of the liver and death. If your breath smells like garlic and you didn’t eat any, and your nails start peeling, your toxic selenium levels may have already caused irreversible damage. As soon as you experience any of the milder symptoms, seek medical help.
The safe levels of selenium in supplements should contain no more than 200 mcg. Unfortunately FDA testing does not always catch higher dosages contained in some supplements even though the label states 200 mcg. We suggest taking a liquid form of ionic trace-minerals containing selenium to be safe. The one we recommend (and take) is JIVA Endurance. If for some reason your doctor discovers a large selenium deficiency they may prescribe a specific dosage to add to the trace-minerals.
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