Selenium is an essential trace element that acts as a co-factor in the conversion of thyroid hormone and production of the antioxidant enzyme glutathione peroxidase. It also functions as an anti-oxidant and has anti-viral properties. It’s name comes from the Greek word Selene meaning “moon”.
In orthomolecular nutritional medicine, it is used to treat conditions in which the immune system has been compromised, such as AIDS, burns and cancer. It is also used to help treat conditions such as hepatitis, heart problems, thyroiditis, and a juvenile form of knee pain known as Osgood-Schlatter disease.
Most of our dietary selenium comes from meat, fish and brazil nuts, with garlic, whole grains, mushrooms and asparagus also containing it in small amounts. However, deficiencies can arise when one becomes immune-compromised or injured. Selenium deficiency symptoms include hair loss, growth retardation, infertility, anemia and pancreatic atrophy.
One of the most promising applications of selenium is it’s ability to bind to toxic metals like lead, mercury and platinum, thereby making them inert.
For most of us, 200mcg of either sodium selenite or selenomethionine paired with 400IU of Vitamin E are safe and effective.
Tune in next episode when we’ll talk about Natural COX-2 Inhibitors.
Be Well and Be Zen
Atkins R C, (1998), Dr. Atkins’ Vita-Nutrient Solution, Nature’s answer to drugs., p. 151-56, Fireside Publishing, NY, ISBN: 0-684-81849-3.
Gaby A R, (2011), Nutritional Medicine., Ch. 34, Selenium, p. 166-69, Fritz Perlberg Publishing, Concord, NH., ISBN 13: 978-0-9828850-0-0.