Selenium is a trace mineral found in soil, and is found not only in trace amounts in just about every food that we eat, but also in every cell in our bodies. It may not be something that we think about very often, but it is a necessary mineral that is required in order to maintain good health. Still, even though it naturally occurs in most of our foods, some people may want to supplement their diet with more, as selenium benefits the body in many ways, both as a preventative supplement and in the course of treatment of various diseases and disorders.
The Exciting Benefits of Selenium
However, the most exciting news is that recent research has shown that taking selenium benefits cancer patients immensely. During a five-year study, patients who were supplementing with 200mcg of additional selenium daily had a much reduced incidence of the development of new tumors throughout their bodies, and the group taking supplements had a 39% reduced mortality rate over the other group.
Additional research has found that selenium benefits non-cancer patients by helping to prevent its development in the first place. This may be due in part to the already discussed antioxidant properties, especially when combined with vitamin E.Photo Credit: Mike Coombes
Lesser Known Selenium Supplement Benefits
While the more exciting selenium benefits are getting plenty of press, there are plenty of other lesser-known benefits that get less press time. One that may be of value to many people is its ability help prevent inactive viruses from becoming activated. This indicates that it shows promise in the treatment of cold sores, shingles, and herpes.
Selenium is also vital for proper thyroid function. The thyroid produces a hormone called T4, which is converted using selenium into a more powerful form, known as T3. Proper thyroid function is important to good health and maintaining a healthy weight.
Aside from that, there is evidence that selenium benefits the immune system and helps to reduce inflammation in the body. While there has not been much research to back up the theory, it is thought that taking selenium benefits the treatment of autoimmune disorders, such as HIV. It has also been used in the treatment of male fertility, alcohol poisoning, and eye health.
As you can see, the benefits of taking selenium supplements are broad and potentially very exciting, especially when it comes to its potential to act as a cancer fighter. Just remember that when you are supplementing your diet with selenium, benefits and side-effects potentially both appear, so be careful to not exceed 600mcg of selenium in your total daily intake, or you may suffer from depression, nausea, hair loss, nervousness, and bad breath. As with anything else that you do in order to maintain good health in the body, moderation is the key to success.