In recent years, the value of the trace mineral selenium to overall health and well being has come to light. Numerous important health benefits have come to be associated with maintaining sufficient levels of selenium in the body, and recent research indicates that this mineral can play an important role in protecting the body from serious disease and illness.

Selenium is especially important in the body’s ongoing battle against free radical damage. In the body, selenium is the source of selenoproteins, which are essential anti-oxidant enzymes and are important to protecting the cells from the damage that unchecked free radicals can do. Some research has associated free radicals with certain types of heart disease and cancers.

In addition to their important role in the control of free radical damage, selenoproteins also serve to strengthen the body’s natural immune system and also helps to produce anti-bodies. Selenium has also been found be involved in helping to keep the thyroid functioning at peak levels.

The thyroid is responsible for many aspects of health, including the body’s metabolism. Some studies indicate that selenium can be useful in the treatment of acne and still other research indicates that it may be useful in repairing chromosome damage.

It is thought to counteract heavy metals and other contaminants that find their way into the body, as well as to help in the prevention of unwanted and dangerous blood clots.

Deficiency in selenium can have a variety of significant health consequences. Indeed, researchers have found three debilitating diseases that are directly related to serious selenium deficiency.

These include Myxedematous Endemic Cretinism, which leaves the victim severely and irreversibly mentally retarded, Keshan Disease, which leaves selenium deficient children with an enlarged heart that often does not function properly, and Kashin-Beck Disease, which causes osteoarthropathy.

The amount of selenium provided by plant sources depends a good deal on the quality of the soil the plants were grown in. Thus, poor soil will yield plants that may not provide the expected levels of this important mineral.

That means that those who follow a vegetarian diet, particularly a vegan diet, which uses no animal products whatsoever, must be especially vigilant in making sure that they consume enough selenium in their daily diets.

A dietary supplement that contains selenium is a safe and sure means of seeing to it that the diet is not lacking in this important nutrient.

Selenium is a trace mineral, which means that the body needs relatively small amounts of it. In the same way that too little can cause serious health problems, taking too much selenium can also cause health problems.

Large amounts can be toxic, and selenium supplements, like any other dietary supplement or medication should be kept well out of the reach of children at all times.

Dietary supplements have an important role in overall health and well being, but they must be treated with the respect that their powerful properties demand.

Always take supplements according to the accepted dosage recommendations, unless you have specific and personalized alternative dosage instructions from a qualified health care provider.

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