One of the world’s rarest trace elements. Its content in food is totally dependent on its content in soil. New Zealand soil has low levels of selenium which needs to be replenished. However it is possible to get all the selenium one would need from just one Brazil nut. Selenium enhances the activity and nutritional value of other vitamins A, C and E in the body. Selenium compound is easily reduced by heat and cooking, processing and refined foods.
Selenium is a natural antioxidant, necessary for the production of prostaglandins (affecting blood pressure)
Works with vitamin E in maintaining the function of the mitochondria of cells and in promotion of body growth
Preserves tissue elasticity
Important for the male reproductive system – semen has a high selenium content
Slows the aging process – by attacking free radicals
Areas of the world with high selenium content also has lower cancer rates
Prostaglandin deficiency – results in deficiency of compounds necessary for keeping arteries free from platelet aggregation. Defective absorption can lead to neural “ceroid lipofuscinosis” a disease that accumulates pigment in nerve cells – characterised by mental retardation, diminished vision, nervous disorders, anaemia and death.
Absorption and storage
The liver and kidneys contain 4-5 times as much as the muscles and other tissue. Selenium also binds with toxic metals and removes them from the body. Normally excreted via the urine.
Medical and therapeutic Uses
Human breast milk contains up to 6 times more selenium and 2 times more vitamin C than cow’s milk
For the maintenance of the blood and circulatory system, joints, muscles, glands, heart, infertility, arthritis, stroke, hypertension, muscular dystrophy, angina pectoris, cancer, reproductive system, raises energy levels, general wellbeing, kwashiorkor (protein deficiency disease), may prevent cot death
Dosage and toxicity
Toxic symptoms include hair loss, teeth and nails loss, skin inflammation dermatitis, lethargy and paralysis.
Severe overdose produces fever, increased respiratory and capillary rate, gastrointestinal distress, myelitis and sometimes death.
Can cause inflammation of the spinal cord,
RDA 50 – 200 micrograms daily. Doses should not exceed 700-1100mg. Males require a higher dose than women due to sperm cell content.
Good Food Sources
Brewer’s yeast, organ meats, mussels, meats, fish, shellfish, grains, dairy products, eggs, Brazil Nuts. Without a doubt, Brazil nuts are one of the best sources of selenium. Shiitake/White Button Mushrooms, Lima/Pinto Beans. Chia Seeds. Brown Rice. Seeds (Sunflower, Sesame, and Flax), Broccoli, Cabbage, Spinach.