Selenium: one of the best kept health secrets

SeleniumFoodsHave you noticed that a lot of people seem to have thyroid problems?

It may be because they have low selenium levels. Some symptoms of selenium deficiency include muscle pain, weakness, discoloration of hair and skin and whitening under the fingernails.

University of Maryland scientists say that although the body only requires tiny amounts of selenium, it is a very essential micromineral and immune system-protecting antioxidant that helps to fight damaging particles in the body called free radicals.

Free radicals damage cell membranes and DNA, and in addition to thyroid problems cause premature aging, heart damage, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer and other diseases.

Selenium plays a vital role in thyroid health.

Some causes of selenium deficiency include smoking, excessive drinking, birth control pills, poor diet and existing conditions such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

Thyroid problems can open the door to all kinds of metabolic problems, including goiter.

The highest concentrations of selenium are in the liver, kidneys and thyroid gland. The preservation of thyroid function is essential, as the thyroid sets the pace for cellular activity.

Cells within the thyroid gland called thyrocytes, produce a protein called thyroglobulin, which connects iodine and tyrosine to form the basis of the thyroid hormone. The thyrocytes also make the enzyme glutathione, an antioxidant compound essential to the process.

Selenium and iodine are natural partners in the body. If there are adequate supplies of both, the free radicals created during the process are deactivated. If they are not deactivated, damage can be inflicted in the thyroid gland.

That is why one little micromineral—selenium—is so important to the thyroid, as well as to the entire functioning of the body.

According to the Maryland scientists, selenium is destroyed when foods are refined or processed! Therefore, if you want your thyroid to work properly your diet should include only a minimum of the nutrient-deficient Standard American Diet—but  plenty of whole, unprocessed foods.

Excellent selenium food sources are wheat germ, organ meats, beef, shellfish, butter, eggs, Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, garlic, onion, vegetables of the broccoli family, brown rice and fish such as halibut, tuna and herring (not farm-raised).

It is important to keep in mind that selenium content depends on the amount of selenium in the soil where the food was grown. And it is well known that modern conventional farming methods have seriously depleted agricultural soil.

The Maryland scientists also note that, because of modern nutrient deficiencies, organic selenium should be included in any whole food vitamin/mineral supplement you take.

Sources: umm.eduwellnessresources.com, womentowomen.com

 

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