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Selenium


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Many good quality studies done in the past suggested that taking enough of this essential mineral helps to prevent prostate cancer (and perhaps others as well). It's also needed to keep the body's immune system in top shape to help it fight off infection from virus.

Those suffering from HIV/AIDS may consider taking this supplement.

Deficiency in this mineral could affect male fertility but it doesn't seem to improve sperm quality and quantity if you are no deficient in this mineral.

It seems from all the research that there are health benefits from taking this mineral only if you are low. If you have enough of this mineral in your system, taking more may not benefit you.

Bottom line, most people should probably take 200 mcg of selenium daily but no more.

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Table of Contents



Evidence of Benefits (Leaf Rating System)

natural remedies review unbiased benefits and side effects Prostate Cancer

Many population studies have shown clear benefits of how getting enough of this essential mineral can protect against prostate cancer.

Research is continuing in this fight against prostate cancer. The SELECT trial will answer the question "does selenium and vitamin E prevent prostate cancer?" when it is finally finished in 2013.

natural remedies review unbiased benefits and side effects

Lung Cancer

Many lab and animal studies report that selenium is able to stop cancer cell growth.

Population studies looking at selenium blood levels showed that the lower the selenium level, the higher the risk of developing all types of cancer.

In one double-blinded trial with 1,312 subjects, taking 200 mcg of this mineral for a period of 4.5 years resulted in the reduction of lung cancer deaths by 53%.

natural remedies review unbiased benefits and side effects Cancer Prevention and Treatment
(Throat, Stomach, Skin and Colon)

Extensive studies done in animals suggest that this mineral has to power to reduce the risk of cancer.

Many population studies in various parts of the world seem to show a reduced risk of various forms of cancer with a higher intake of this mineral.

One large study showed that low levels of this mineral seems to increase the risk of developing throat and stomach cancer.

natural remedies review unbiased benefits and side effects Low Sperm Count / Male Infertility

This trace mineral is required for proper sperm production in man. In animal studies, this mineral is also shown to protect the sperm from free radical damage.

A recent well-designed clinical study (Safarinejad, Feb 2009) showed that supplementation with this mineral improved the quantity and the mobility of the sperm. The researchers "advocate their use for male infertility treatment."

However, if you are non deficient in this mineral, taking additional amount does not further improve sperm quality and quantity.

natural remedies review unbiased benefits and side effectsType 2 Diabetes

There is evidence from clinical studies that higher levels of selenium is linked to a decreased risk of developing type 2 diabetes in older men (and not in women).
 
natural remedies review unbiased benefits and side effects Asthma

Several studies show that low levels of this mineral is linked to a higher risk of asthma problems. One study showed that taking 100 mcg of this mineral improved asthma symptoms and lung functions. The results were seen in 14 weeks of treatment.

However, other studies showed a relationship between low selenium intake and a higher risk of developing asthma.

natural remedies review unbiased benefits and side effects HIV/AIDS Treatment

Lab studies show promising benefits in stopping the virus from multiplying.

In a well-design study done in 450 subjects, this supplement suppressed the progression of the HIV and improved blood cell counts. Those subjects were also taking convention therapy as well and the researchers concluded that this mineral should a good additional to conventional treatment.

natural remedies review unbiased benefits and side effects Anti-Oxidant Benefits

This mineral shows potent anti-oxidant property and may be helpful in preventing damage to blood vessels leading to hardening of the arteries and heart disease.

natural remedies review unbiased benefits and side effects Cardiovascular Disease / Heart Disease

Results from many population studies suggest a link between low selenium intake and a higher risk of getting heart disease.

However, there are studies that show that this mineral doesn't help with preventing heart disease. We'll need to do more research to get to the truth.

Until then, there are better nature cures for heart disease such as garlic and fish oil.

natural remedies review unbiased benefits and side effects Anti-inflammatory Benefits (Arthritis)

Selenium shows potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions and experts suggest that it may be helpful in treating some forms of arthritis and other conditions involving inflammation.


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Facts and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is selenium?

Selenium is a trace mineral that the body requires for metabolism and immune system function.

How does selenium work in our body?

This mineral is involved in many essential processes in our body such as in the making of the thyroid hormone and testosterone, removing free radicals (that damages our healthy cells) and regulating sperm production.

It also acts to detoxify the body of heavy metals by binding to them. Heavy metals are known to cause cancer. Experts believe that this may be part of the reason on how this mineral might reduce the risk of cancer.

What foods are rich in selenium?

Foods that contain large amounts of selenium include Brazil nuts, fish, crab, shellfish, brewer's yeast, wheat germ, raisins, liver, and beef.

Because the amount of selenium found in food sources varies, it is much more reliable to get the amount you need in a pill form.

What about the large SELECT study on selenium and vitamin E?

The Outcome of Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial (SELECT) is one of the largest human cancer prevention trial ever undertaken by any research group. It involved 35,533 men from 427 research centers around the world and it started in 2001.

Five years into the study (scheduled to be completely done in 2013), it showed that there were no benefits of reducing prostate cancer in this group of healthy volunteers by taking either selenium or vitamin E alone or in combination.

Don't write this mineral off yet for preventing prostate and other forms of cancer. There may be many reasons for this. One expert suggested that the volunteers have high selenium levels to begin with.

What about using selenium in patients with HIV/AIDS infection?

There has been research done to see how this critical mineral can slow down and even stop the spread of viral infections such as HIV in humans. In lab studies, selenium seems to stop the HIV from reproducing and infecting cells. The benefits were also seen in clinical studies and subjects infected with HIV showed that taking this supplement reduces the virus burden and improved the blood cells count. Further research is continuing in this area. Many of the researchers in the clinical studies recommend this mineral supplement for those suffering from HIV/AIDS.

We can confidently say that by not getting enough of it, your body's immune system will not be operating at maximum efficiency to fight off the virus.

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Suggested Benefits and Traditional Uses

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Side Effects, Toxicity and Warnings

Side effects are uncommon when the dose is below 400 mcg daily. Above this dose, reported side effects include stomach pain, nausea, vomiting and mood changes.

What side effects can occur if I overdose on it?

Overdose symptoms can include stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, bad breath, weakness, fatigue, mood disturbances and hair loss.

However, dosage of 600 mcg has been used in clinical studies without many reported serious side effects. Dosage of at least 1000 mcg daily was required before any significant side effects were reported.

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Dosage & How to Take It

What dose should I take?

Research studies suggest a dose of 200 mcg daily of this mineral. This dosage, which is very safe and below the toxic dose, is more than enough to provide the benefits of prostate cancer prevention or improving sperm count and motility in infertile men.

Should I take more for added benefits?

No, you probably do not need to do that. The research studies already showed its benefits at a dose of only 200 mcg. More is not always better.
 
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Related Articles and Resources

Prostate Cancer - Can You Prevent It?

Antioxidant Facts - What Are The Health Benefits?


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References for Selenium
Revised: April 27, 2013

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