One such crucial micronutrient (technically a mineral) is selenium. Dr. Ames and his fellow researchers recently analyzed 25 studies to judge the activity of immune-system components called selenoproteins - which, as the name suggests, contain selenium as an essential component.
His conclusion? Even "modest" selenium deficiency appears to be associated with age-related diseases and conditions such as cancer, heart disease and immune dysfunction.
What Leads to Selenium Deficiency?
A well-balanced diet typically supplies the selenium you need, but certain factors may deplete this mineral. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, cigarettes, alcohol, birth control pills, and conditions that prevent nutrient absorption (like Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis), may increase the risk of selenium deficiency.
How Does Selenium Work?
Selenium works as an antioxidant, especially when combined with vitamin E. Antioxidants help neutralize free radicals in the body, which in turn prevents cellular aging. This mineral also plays a role in thyroid function, and is used by the immune system.
From a detoxification standpoint, in order for glutathione to turn hydrogen peroxide into water, selenium is needed. Without selenium, your detoxifying enzyme (GPX) can't get rid of hydrogen peroxide.
Where is it Found?
Diet: Brazil nuts are an incredible source of selenium, but enjoy sparingly: The National Institutes of Health warns their unusually high content could lead to an overdose if consumed in excess. Play it safe with a small serving on occasion. Other dietary sources include brewer's yeast, wheat germ, garlic, truly whole grains, sunflower seeds, walnuts, raisins, shellfish, and both fresh and saltwater fish.
The key is choosing a wide variety of whole, unprocessed foods.
Take dietary supplements only under the supervision of a knowledgeable health practitioner.
University of Maryland Medical Center "Selenium"