Selenium is one of the most important micronutrients. Selenium is essential mineral with very powerful anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and anti-cancer properties. It was discovered 200 years ago by Baron Jons Jacob Berzelius, the chemist from Sweden.
Mark Whitacre, Ph.D. is a leading expert on selenium. He has Ph.D. in nutritional biochemistry. While studying on Cornell University under the supervision of F. Combs Jr. Ph.D., the leading authority on selenium, he conducted a research on the role of selenium on pancreatic cells
Selenium in Health and Disease Prevention
Selenium has two very significant roles:
- Selenium, at cellular level, is active compound of glutathione peroxidase, which is enzyme that has very strong antioxidant properties and has an ability to defend the cells against build-up of damaging free radicals.
- Selenium has important role in prevention of cancer, by decreasing free radicals that are one of the major causes of this disease.
Excessive Selenium Deficiency + Iron = Bad News
Iron reacts with hydrogen peroxide to make free radicals. Free radicals may damage cell membranes, mitochondrial DNA, and proteins, and by doing so they may cause early death of mitochondria.
It is highly recommended to test iron levels once a year and to retain iron level between 20 and 80 ng/mL (nanogram per milliliter). Ideal iron level is one between 40 and 60 ng/mL.
Low iron levels may be a huge problem, but it is easily cured with iron supplements. As a matter of fact most of the people have too much iron, above all premenopausal women and children. High iron levels together with hydroxyl catalyze free radicals, and if there is deficit of selenium it makes the situation even worst.
Check Your Iron Levels Annually
Mark Whitacre claims that excessive iron in the body does produce some challenges. As proven in his study, chickens that had selenium deficiency are prone to pancreatic fibrosis. Chickens that were put on selenium restricted diet couldn’t survive more than 21 – 28 days. The first thing that has been noticed by researchers as damaged in these chickens was damages on mitochondrial membranes. Basically, hydrogen peroxide, while oxidizing, is attacking lipids.
The Selenium-Cancer Connection
The first study of The Selenium Cancer Connection was done by Combs, followed research done by Larry C. Clark, Ph.D., former director of epidemiology program of Arizona Cancer Center’s at the University of Arizona. Combs and Clark, in 1983, had conducted a 10 year research study in which they compared two groups; one was taking 200 mcg (micrograms) of selenium supplement on a daily basis, and the other didn’t receive any selenium supplements.
Research study proved that there was a 50 – 63 % of reduction in colon cancer, prostate and lung (the highest number of 63 % rate reduction was in prostate cancer).
This study was possibly the first study that actually observed the impact of selenium supplements on cancer reduction. Dozens of studies followed that have proven these findings to be right. Studies have revealed that the most effective form of selenium is Seleno Excell high selenium yeast. Other forms, like selenomethionine and sodium selenite, didn’t have the same effects as Seleno Excell high selenium yeast.
Best Sources of Selenium
In general, consuming unprocessed whole food naturally boosts your selenium levels. Best sources of selenium are mushrooms, sardines, eggs (organic), liver, Chia seeds, sunflower seeds, brazil nuts, chicken, salmon, and turkey.