By Jim Fain
Unlike many well-proven supplements, selenium has crossed into the realm of acceptance by the conservative establishment. It is such a non-assuming mineral that I suppose it poses no threat to anyone. Selenium has been on the market shelves for decades and has been a potent yet quiet healer.
When I talk about selenium, I really mean the kind of selenium found in food (yeast-based) or selenomethionine. These are readily absorbed by our system and cause no interaction with Vitamin C. The yeast-bound selenium is the most common and is easily found on store shelves at 200 micrograms (mcg)/tablet. Using very little selenium daily does a great deal. Absorbable selenium is also found in onions, garlic, broccoli, cabbage, celery, cucumbers, mushrooms, wheat germ, liver, tuna, seafood, chicken and bran, though the amount in each may vary based on the soil content (at least in the plant sources) of selenium.
Modern science has clearly shown it as being important in the fight against colon and prostate cancer. I usually suggest that men supplement with 200-400 mcg daily if over 50 years and both men and women if there is family history of colon cancer. Other benefits are many, such as causing Vitamin E to be more effective, as well as enhancing the enzyme glutathione, which does so much that books have been written on it alone. Other benefits include proper growth and development, help in preventing strokes, angina and endometriosis, helping control epileptic seizures, decreases blood platelet clumping, aids fertility in men, helps reduce wrinkles, reduces asthma attacks, stimulates immune function, lupus, may protect against cataracts and macular degeneration and is one of the strongest antioxidants.
A couple of other fascinating facts have to do with HIV and the Hepatitis C virus (HCV). Studies at the University of North Carolina suggest a lack of selenium in the cells may activate the AIDS virus. Gastroenterologists who treat Hepatitis C will often suggest supplemental selenium as a sort of “birth control” for the virus, which causes this potentially fatal illness. Selenium clearly impacts viral infections. With all of the weird viruses in this strange time, it is good to know of this unassuming helper from the earth.