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Selenium Supplements

Selenium is an important trace element required for dozens of enzymatic reactions in the human body. It is one of those often forgotten nutrients, with most people favouring more well-known minerals like zinc and iron. However, Selenium's importance should not be underestimated. In 2005, the Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology published an article stating that approximately 1 billion people worldwide are deficient in this important nutrient. 1 BILLION!!! New Zealand soils are believed to be some of the most deficient in the world, according to the British Journal of Nutrition in 2004, which of course leads to low food content—unless the food is imported—and consequently low human levels. 

 

 

Selenium is needed for many important chemical reactions, such as a cofactor for antioxidant enzymes that we naturally synthesize. What's a cofactor? A cofactor can be compared to the petrol in a car. No matter how good the car, without fuel, we will not get far. Selenium is the fuel that powers some antioxidant enzymes to do their work, two of which are glutathione peroxidase and thioredoxin reductase. Therefore, Selenium is essential for maintaining cellular health and protecting us from free-radical damage. The British Journal of Biomedical Science published a research paper in 2009 that highlights the importance of Selenium as a cofactor for iodothyronine deiodinase, which activates thyroid hormones. Therefore, without enough Selenium, we may exhibit signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism, even with a normal T4 level. 

 

 

If you are not excited yet by Selenium—and yes, the author does get excited by minerals—in November 2008 Molecular Nutrition and Food Research published a review article highlighting the ability of Selenium to support aging immunity and to enhance protection against pathogens, such as viruses and bacteria. This is not surprising, given the importance of Selenium in enhancing overall antioxidant status. It is also believed that Selenium can help assist with allergic diseases, such as asthma, and help to manage chronic low-grade inflammation. The best dietary source of this mineral is Brazil Nuts, if grown in the Amazonian basin where the soil is especially rich in this mineral.

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