Selenium – The Most Powerful Mineral For Health And Wellness
Selenium is the most potent broad-spectrum anti-cancer agent that has yet been discovered – Dr. E. J. Crary
Simply put, Selenium is a key micro-nutrient that is vital to all human health and well-being.
It has been well documented that those with higher levels of blood Selenium, have the lowest rate ofÂ cancer. This is probably the reason why so many scientists have described Selenium as an anti-carcinogenic micro-nutrient.
It’s no coincidence that in countries where the soil and water are high in Selenium, the populace experience lower rates of tumor activity.
For example, In Japan where longevity is high and cancer rates are low, the Selenium rich soil and water is thought to be playing a major role in the overall health and longevity of the Japanese population. It is also no secret that the Japanese eat a lot of raw fish which are high in Selenium.
According to the World Health Organizations 2014 Life Expectancy Report, Japanese women have the longest life-expectancy in the world with an average age of 87 years. Japanese men also fare well and come in eighth in their list, with an average life-expectancy of 80 years.1
What is Selenium?
Selenium is actually a trace mineral, which is found naturally in the soil and water from where it eventually makes its way into plants and animals and ultimately into our food chain.
Selenium is made up of around two dozen selenoproteins which play a critical role in many of the bodies processes such as reproduction, metabolism, thyroid function, DNA synthesis and protection from oxidative damage.
Many of the everyday foods that we eat provide beneficial levels of Selenium including:-
- Brazil nuts
- Sunflower seeds
- Sea food
- Whole grains
- Meats – Chicken, Turkey, Beef, Lamb and Pork
- Brussel sprouts
Foods that are richest in Selenium are seafood, organ meats, muscle meats, fortified cereals, grains and dairy products.
Brazil nuts are also extremely high in Selenium with 6-8 nuts containing over 544 micrograms of Selenium or almost 10 times the recommended daily intake!
It’s important to note that when food is overcooked, refined or processed, the Selenium is usually destroyed. Another important reason to enjoy a nutrient rich diet containing fresh and natural produce, rather than one based on junk processed foods.
Why Is Selenium so Good for Us?
Selenium and other trace minerals are incredibly important to our bodies overall functionality.
Trace minerals like Selenium help transport oxygen to our cells, protect cell membranes and also aid in the assimilation of other nutrients such as amino acids, proteins and hormones.
Selenium supports our immune and endocrine systems and when combined with other nutrients such as vitamin E, vitamin C, vitamin B3 and glutathione peroxidase, acts as a powerful antioxidant.
In addition to this, Selenium is also believed to be an excellent anti-inflammatory and as we know, chronic inflammation is the cause of many serious illnesses.
Selenium is the only mineral that the FDA (US Food and Drugs Administration) attributes as being beneficial in the prevention of certain cancer.
In fact, Selenium is so powerful that scientists class it as the most potent anti-carcinogenic agent known to man!
Research has shown that Selenium is effective in the fight against a number of forms of cancer including breast, prostate, liver, bladder, skin, stomach and esophageal cancer.
So you see, a body deficient in Selenium will not function at optimum levels and over the long-term, may create an environment for serious illness to thrive.
A deficiency in Selenium has been associated with a whole host of health conditions including:
- Dry skin
- Cataract development
- Keshan disease
- Increased risk of cancer
- Increased risk of heart disease
- Increased risk of thyroid disease
- Risk of Crohn’s disease
- Kashin-beck disease
- Mental retardation including Myxedematous Endemic Cretinism
- Cognitive decline
Research and Studies into the Health Benefits of Selenium
There have been many studies over the years into Selenium’s anti-cancer properties.
For example, in an epidemiological study, Dr. Raymond Shamberger categorized theÂ states and cities in the USA according to whether there was high, medium, or low SeleniumÂ availability in the diet.
He demonstrated an inverse association between Selenium availability and age-adjusted mortality for all types of cancer. To put it simply, the more Selenium available, the lower the levels of diseased cells.
In a worldwide study Dr. Gerhard Schrauzer, M.D., Ph.D. (professor of medical chemistry at the University of California at San Diego) analyzed the blood-bank data from 27 countries around the world. He compiled a list in order of their blood Selenium levels disclosing an inverse proportional relationship to cancer incidence, reporting specifically that areas with low levels of Selenium in the diet had higher levels of leukemia and cancer of the breast, colon, rectum, prostate, ovary, and lung.
In other words, the number one nation in blood Selenium level (Japan) had the lowest cancer level (and consistently has rated highest in longevity) while the number two Selenium level nation had the second lowest cancer rate, etc.4
In another study by Dr. L.C. Clark of the University of Arizona Cancer Center noted that a Selenium treated group developed 66% fewer prostate cancers, 50% fewer ColoRectal cancers and approximately 40% fewer lung cancers in comparison to a placebo group.4
In an interview with Dr. Passwater Ph.D, Dr. Gerhard Schrauzer a member of the American Association for Cancer Research said
At the April 9th annual meeting of the American Association of Cancer Research, in Washington, D.C., an interesting report was given by Milan Geybels, M.Sc., of Maastricht University in Maastricht, the Netherlands. He reported that among a group of almost 60,000 men aged 55-69 at the beginning of the study, those with the highest selenium levels had more than a 60% reduced risk for advanced prostate cancer. That’s impressive.
Dr. Schrauzer recommends a daily intake of 200 mcg of Selenium which is the equivalent to eating just 4 Brazil nuts per day!
In a GreenMed TV interview with Dr. Peter Glidden titled This Supplement Could Cut Breast Cancer Risk in Half, Dr. Glidden stresses the importance of Selenium and how it can dramatically reduce the risk of breast cancer. You can watch the short video below.
Unfortunately, there are many parts of the world which are Selenium deficient. Countries such as New Zealand, China, Croatia and the Slovak Republic all have low soil Selenium levels.
The good news is that if you are eating a healthy nutritious diet with the right combination of green vegetables, fruit, fish, nuts and meat, you should be getting adequate levels of Selenium.
If you are living in one of the countries listed above, or are suffering from health problems, it is a good idea to use supplementation to make sure you keep yourself topped up.
As a guide, the US Food and Nutrition Board recommend a daily intake of 55 mcg (micrograms) of Selenium with a tolerable upper intake of around 400 mcg per day.3
It’s been well documented that a traditional Japanese diet contains around 600 mcg of Selenium per day. As the Japanese are such a healthy nation, there is strong evidence to suggest that Selenium is at the heart of their success.
If you do wish to supplement, you should use a high-quality Selenium supplement. Our Life Integrative Medicine store stocks an excellent Selenium product which you may purchase here
Selenium toxicity is fairly rare but is possible especially if you eat too many Brazil nuts or purchase a low-quality Selenium product. There have been cases where people purchased Selenium products that were mislabelled, containing hundreds of times more Selenium than they should have and of which caused severe toxicity.
Blood concentrations should not exceed 1,000 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) otherwise it can lead to Selenosis (Selenium toxicity).
Signs of Selenosis are gastrointestinal upset, white blotchy nails, hair loss, diarrhea, nausea, irritability and bad breath.
Acute Selenosis can potentially result in neurological problems, acute respiratory distress syndrome, kidney failure, heart failure and in rare cases, death.
If you would like to find out more about Selenium and the Budwig Diet, please download our FREE Budwig guide here.
4. Source -Chapter 12 Fantastic Foods & Super Supplements Cancer Step Outside the Box page 341