Selenium is a trace mineral needed in small amounts for good health. In recent years, the value of the trace mineral selenium to overall health and well being has come to light. Many vital health benefits have come to be associated with maintaining sufficient levels of selenium in the body and recent study indicates that this mineral can play an important role in protecting the body from serious disease and illness.
Benefits of Selenium:
Selenium is especially important in the body’s ongoing battle against free radical damage. In the body, selenium is the source of selenoproteins. Selenoproteins are essential anti-oxidant enzymes that plays an important part in protecting the cells from the damage that unchecked free radicals can do. Some research has associated free radicals with certain types of heart disease and cancers.
In addition to their important role in the control of free radical damage, selenoproteins also serve to strengthen the body’s natural immune system and also helps to produce anti-bodies. For the thyroid to perform at its best, selenium level at the body should be at the proper levels.
The thyroid is responsible for many aspects of health including the body’s metabolism. It has also been found out in some studies that this mineral is effective in acne treatment and some also indicates that it may be useful in repairing chromosome damage.
It is thought to counteract heavy metals and other contaminants that find their way into the body, as well as to help in the prevention of unwanted and dangerous blood clots.
Deficiency in selenium can have a variety of significant health consequences. Indeed, researchers have found three debilitating diseases that are directly related to serious selenium deficiency.
These include Myxedematous Endemic Cretinism which leaves the victim severely and irreversibly mentally retarded, Keshan Disease which leaves selenium deficient children with an enlarged heart that often does not function properly, and Kashin-Beck Disease which causes osteoarthropathy, an illness that causes the clubbing of the digits of the hands and feet plus enlargement of the extremities.
Selenium as an anti-aging agent:
One of the main activities of selenium is its anti-aging properties and its ability to help rid the body of free radicals, as well as toxic minerals such as mercury, lead and cadmium.
It is helpful in fighting infections since it stimulates increased antibody response to infections, promotes more energy in the body, and while it helps with alleviating menopausal symptoms in women, it assists the male in producing healthy sperm.
In certain cases selenium has also proven effective in helping to fight cold sores and shingles, which are both caused by the herpes virus.
Selenium is also used against arthritis and multiple sclerosis and if provided in adequate amounts it is thought to help prevent cancer as well. Tissue elasticity and pancreatic function is also dependant on this mineral.
Selenium and Vitamin E are a powerful combination. Together they slow down aging, hardening of the arteries, relieve menopausal suffering such as hot flashes, helps keep your muscles flexible, and even helps prevents dandruff.
Some researchers have shown that in selenium-deficient animals a harmless virus can mutate into a virulent form capable of causing damage and death - this has also been followed up with other studies, which seem to indicate that selenium helps to keep the spread and multiplying of viruses in check.