Selenium 100 mcg (250 Tabs)
- Helps prevent cancer, inflammatory diseases, cardiovascular disease, neurological diseases, and infections
- Antioxidant and anti-aging properties
- Helps lower the body's levels of free radicals
- Helps fight heart disease and cancer
- Important in Immune Support
Selenium activates an antioxidant enzyme called glutathione peroxidase, which may help protect the body from cancer. Yeast-derived forms of selenium have induced apoptosis (programmed cell death) in cancer cells in test tubes and in animals.
Selenium is an essential mineral found in trace amounts in the human body. It works as an antioxidant, especially when combined with vitamin E, by scavenging damaging particles in the body known as free radicals. These particles occur naturally in the body but can damage cell membranes, interact with genetic material, and possibly contribute to the aging process as well as the development of a number of conditions including heart disease and cancer. Antioxidants such as selenium can neutralize free radicals and may reduce or even help prevent some of the damage they cause.
Selenium is needed for the proper functioning of the immune system and for the production of prostaglandins (substances that affect blood pressure and inflammation in the body). Low levels of selenium may worsen atherosclerosis (plaque buildup in arteries which can lead to heart attack and/or stroke) and can lead to premature aging. Selenium deficiencies have also been linked with certain types of cancer.
Cigarette smokers have lower levels of selenium. There are several reasons for this. Tobacco decreases absorption of selenium in the digestive tract. In addition, many smokers have poor dietary habits and eat fewer foods containing selenium. Alcohol also lowers selenium levels.
Low blood levels of selenium can contribute to heart failure. Selenium deficiencies have been shown to worsen atherosclerosis (plaque build up in arteries which can lead to heart attack and/or stroke). It is not known, however, whether selenium supplementation can prevent development or progression of atherosclerosis. Plus, some researchers are concerned that selenium supplements may minimize the benefits of cholesterol lowering drugs.
Several animal and human studies have suggested that selenium may protect against the development of colon cancer. Higher cancer rates have been observed in areas where the level of selenium in the soil is low. At least one study has also found that selenium may reduce the risk of death from colon cancer.
Similarly, population based trials suggest that people who eat a diet rich in antioxidants, including selenium, may reduce their risk of prostate cancer. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is currently sponsoring a large clinical trial, with projections of over 32,000 male participants, to evaluate whether use of selenium and vitamin E helps prevent prostate cancer.
In another study, over 1,300 people with skin cancer were randomly assigned to receive either selenium 200 mcg per day or placebo for at least three years. The researchers found that people who were not taking selenium were more likely to develop lung, prostate, or colon cancers than those who did take the supplement. Plus, an animal study found that selenomethionine (an active breakdown product of selenium) may reduce the spread of melanoma cells in mice. The authors of this study suggest that selenomethionine may prove to be an appropriate addition to the standard treatment for melanoma.
Numerous studies suggest that selenium is necessary for proper immune function. Selenium along with other minerals can help build up white blood cells, enhancing the body's ability to fight illness and infection.
In a study of 725 elderly men and women, for example, those who received zinc and selenium supplements demonstrated a better immune response to the influenza vaccine than those who received placebo. These results suggest that selenium and zinc supplements may boost immunity in older people and improve their resistance to infections.
In addition, an animal study found that selenium deficiencies may cause the flu virus to mutate into more dangerous forms, leading to harmful lung inflammation.
Evidence suggests that people with asthma tend to have low blood levels of selenium. In a study of 24 people with asthma, those who received selenium supplements for 14 weeks demonstrated a significant improvement in symptoms compared to those who received placebo. More studies are needed, however, to determine whether selenium supplementation is safe and effective for people with this respiratory condition.
Selenium plays a key role in the proper functioning of the immune system and studies have shown that levels of this nutrient decline consistently as HIV progresses. Preliminary evidence suggests that selenium supplementation may improve certain symptoms of this condition.
For example, severe weight loss is a serious problem for people with HIV. In a well-designed study of people with HIV, those who took a daily supplement containing selenium, glutamine, beta-carotene, N-acetylcysteine, and vitamins C and E for 12 weeks gained significantly more weight than those who took placebo. Given the number of nutrients included in this supplement, however, it is unclear whether it was the selenium alone or the combination of all nutrients that ultimately prevented the weight loss in the study participants.
When skin is burned, a substantial percentage of micronutrients, such as copper, selenium, and zinc may be lost. This increases the risk for infection, slows the healing process, prolongs the hospital stay, and even increases the risk of death. Although it is unclear which micronutrients are most beneficial for people with burns, many clinicians suggest that a multivitamin including selenium may aid in the recovery process.
Some reports indicate that selenium affects mood. In one study of people with low levels of selenium, those who consumed a diet high in selenium reported fewer feelings of depression after 5 weeks.
Selenium and other antioxidants play an essential role in the formation of certain proteins found in sperm. Deficiencies of selenium, therefore, can have a detrimental effect on sperm motility. In a study of 69 infertile Scottish men, those given selenium or selenium in combination with vitamins A, C, and E for three months demonstrated significant improvement in sperm motility compared to men given placebo pills. Sperm count was unaffected.
Miscarriage and Female Infertility
Women who have miscarried tend to have lower levels of selenium than women who carry a pregnancy to full term. Whether selenium supplementation helps prevent miscarriage, however, is not clear. One study of only 12 women who either had trouble conceiving or had a history of miscarriage found that those who took selenium along with magnesium were more likely to carry their pregnancy to full term. Further research is needed. In the meantime, check your prenatal vitamin for selenium and magnesium content and talk to your doctor about the proper amounts
Animal studies suggest that selenium, particularly in combination with vitamin E, may lower blood sugar levels over time and reduce the risk of complications (such as kidney and blood vessel diseases) associated with diabetes. Studies in people are needed before conclusions can be drawn.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
People with inflammatory bowel disease (including Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis) often have reduced levels of selenium, as well as other vitamins and minerals, in their bodies. In the case of IBD, this can be from decreased nutrional intake and absorption in the intestines, excessive diarrhea, and/or surgical resection of parts of the digestive tract. For this reason, a multivitamin including selenium may be recommended by health care professionals for people with this health condition.
Low selenium levels may be associated with an increased risk for liver cancer in people with hepatitis B and/or C. Furthermore, low selenium levels may worsen the toxic effects of alcohol on the liver. It is not clear, however, whether selenium supplementation can help prevent or treat liver damage.
Disorders of the Pancreas
Studies have found that antioxidant therapy including selenium may significantly reduce pain in people with pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas).
Selenium deficiency can affect metabolism of thyroid hormones. Selenium supplementation in a small group of elderly individuals improved thyroid function.
Selenium supplementation may help improve symptoms in individuals with various skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis, and eczema.
Low levels of selenium in the blood may be associated with increased risk of rheumatoid arthritis. It is not known, however, whether supplementation with selenium alone will improve arthritis. Some experts believe, however, that the combination of selenium and vitamin E helps relieve symptoms.
Preliminary studies also indicate that selenium supplementation may be useful in the prevention and treatment of eye disorders (such as age-related macular degeneration) and lupus. Further studies are needed to confirm these findings, however.
Servings Per Container: 100
|Selenium (as L-Selenomethionine)||100 mcg||143%|
Cellulose, Stearic Acid (vegetable source), Magnesium Stearate (vegetable source).
Free of:sugar, salt, starch, milk, egg, corn, wheat, yeast, gluten, soy.
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