Continuing the conversation on how our diet makes a difference in our health and how it can go a long way in preventing cancer along with a variety of other diseases. So far we have discussed the super antioxidant Gluthatione and Beta-Carotene which becomes Vitamin A in the body. Two things that are essential in helping the body remain healthy by ridding itself of free radicals.
To learn about the benefits of selenium we must first learn-what selenium is. To find the answer to that I have again been traveling around the internet in search of information. What I found is that selenium is a chemical element, non metal and related to sulfur and tellurium. It is a mineral found in soil, naturally appears in water and in some foods. It is in every cell of our body. The amount of selenium found in food depends on how much is in the soil where the food is grown.
Selenium-an important nutrient's benefits are wide as it is one of the most potent immune boosters and antioxidants around. Fighting against the free radicals that damage our DNA. Often included with glutathione, Vitamins C and E it fights against a variety of disease. Two of which are cancer and heart disease. Studies have shown that it benefits non-cancer patients by helping prevent its development. Selenium contributes toward promoting normal liver functioning, slows aging and has been used to fight viral infections. Selenium protects against toxic metals in the body-including mercury. It neutralizes alcohol, smoke and fats in the body. There is evidence it helps in the treatment of autoimmune disorders, in the treatment of male fertility, it reduces inflammation and promotes eye health. The list goes on.
According to the web site; www.nutritional-supplements-health-guide.com a five year study has been carried out at Cornell University and the University of Arizona. The study showing that people who were taking 200mcg of selenium a day were 63% less prostate tumors, 58% less colorectal cancers, 46% less lung malignancies and a 39% overall decrease in cancer deaths. In other studies it has shown promise in helping prevent other cancers also showing promising results in battling leukemia. Scientists are also studying using selenium in the battle against many other diseases.
Where you can find selenium. Rich sources are:
*mushrooms (button, shitake, reishi)
*fish (cod, flounder, halibut, herring, mackerel, salmon, smelts, red snapper,swordfish, tuna)
*seafood (lobster, oyster, scallops, shellfish, shrimp)
* blackstrap molasses
*cheddar, cottage, and mozzarella cheese
*herbs (alfalfa, burdock root, catnip, fennel seed, ginseng,raspberry leaf)
*meat (beef, chicken, lamb, turkey)
*sunflower and mustard seeds
*vegetables (asparagus, broccoli, radish, spinach)
*whole grains and wholegrain products (oats, barley, brown rice, rye)
***information from www.healthsupplementsnutritionalguide.com
It must be noted that while taken correctly there should be no side effects. However if taken in excess it can become toxic. Some symptoms of selenium poisoning are:
*decreased cognitive function
*garlic breath odor
*hair, nail and tooth loss
In extreme cases it can be fatal. The general agreement is that in adults an upper level daily limit of 400mg is safe.
There are some risks in taking selenium.
*side effects-At normal doses there are usually no side effects. An overdose can cause the above symptoms.
*Interactions-may interact with other medicines and supplements, such as antacids, chemotherapy drugs, corticosteroids, niacin, cholesterol-lowering statin drugs and birth control pills.
*skin cancer-selenium is associated with a risk of skin cancer. People at a high risk of skin cancer should not take selenium.
*diabetes-one study found that people who took 200 micrograms a day were 50% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. It is unknown if selenium actually causes the disease.
As with all foods, vitamins and supplements along with the benefits, there are risks. With careful consideration and planning--and talking with one's doctor--the correct supplements and dosages can be scheduled. In actively taking control of what we put into our systems we can greatly reduce our risk of cancer.