26th May 2018

Selenium – The wonder mineral

Lifestyle

Selenium, many researchers now believe this could prove to be one of the most important disease-fighting nutrients.

A trace mineral essential for many body processes, selenium is found in soil. Soil with low levels of selenium, such as in the UK, produce food containing relatively low levels of the nutrient making supplementation essential. Consistent intakes below the recommended amount could lead to higher incidences of cancer, heart disease, immune problems and inflammatory conditions. Research suggests that antibody synthesis increases up to 30 fold if supplements of selenium and vitamin E, which work together as powerful antioxidants protecting cells, are taken.

Selenium has received a great deal of attention for its role in combating cancer. In a study involving over 1300 people, those receiving 200mcg selenium a day had a 52% lower risk of cancer death compared to those receiving the placebo. Studies of cancer patients reveal that people with the lowest blood levels of selenium developed more tumors and had a higher rate of disease recurrence, a greater risk of cancer spreading and a shorter overall survival rate than those with high selenium levels. In addition, selenium protects the heart by reducing the risk of clotting and therefore heart attack and stroke. It can also increase the ration of good cholesterol to bad.

Brazil nuts are the richest dietary source of selenium, along with offal, seafood wholegrain and certain vegetables (although the amount of selenium depends on the soil for these).

Recommended daily dose 100mcg to 200mcg, not exceeding 300mcg.

Magnesium is vital for every major metabolic reaction and few enzymes can work without it, yet one in ten people are deficient.

The average person’s body contains just under 30 grams of Magnesium, but this small amount is vital to a number of bodily functions. Magnesium is easily depleted by poor diet, stress, certain diseases and medications. It can be found naturally in dark, leafy vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds and whole grains though no longer in great quantities as it is arguably one of the most depleted minerals in the soil. Supplementation therefore may be needed for the maintenance of optimal health.

Recent studies indicate that magnesium is beneficial for the prevention and treatment of heart disease. An adequate intake may also help to prevent type 2 diabetes and lower high blood pressure. It is important for maintaining the integrity of body cells, cell division, synthesis of protein and genetic material, and production of energy from glucose. It is also essential for normal psychological and nerve function.

Recommended daily dose is 300mg, best taken with meals to optimise absorption.

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