Although this trace mineral is not often emphasized when it comes to nutrition and vitamin supplements, it plays a key role in fighting prostate cancer and in the body’s metabolism, and it’s classified as an essential nutrient.
Selenium is found in the soil, lending itself to water and many other foods.
However, due to modern farming techniques and other issues, humans have stripped much of the minerals from the soil, meaning many people do not get enough selenium in their diet without supplementation.
This trace mineral is well known for its powerful antioxidant properties, which help protect the body from free radicals and cell damage and may help prevent most types of cancer.
Studies have also shown that men who take at least 200 micrograms per day are at a decreased risk for developing prostate cancer.
Although more research is still needed to come to a firm conclusion, many experts believe that selenium can actually help or prevent thyroid disease.
Getting enough selenium is also thought to help prevent the cognitive decline in elderly people, keeping their memories sharper and leaving them generally more alert.
Some diseases, such as HIV and Crohn’s disease, can actually be associated with low levels of selenium. It is also noted that Keshan’s disease, which is a congestive cardiomyopathy, is caused by not having enough selenium in the diet.
The name of the disease derived from Keshan county in Northwestern China where the disease was, at one time, rampant.
With daily selenium tablets, it has mostly disappeared.
Selenium can be obtained both through food as well as supplements.
It is most prevalent in Brazil nuts, but can also be found in most animal products, particularly meat and cheese.
It also naturally occurs in bananas, potatoes, peas and peaches.
It is recommended that adults over the age 14 receive 55 micrograms of the trace mineral each day.
Pregnant women should up their intake to 60, and those breast feeding should consume 70 micrograms per day.
Men, however, looking to ward off prostate cancer can take up to 200 micrograms per day, but it is important to consult your doctor before beginning a brand new vitamin regime.
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