Selenium is a trace mineral found mostly in meats and grains. However, New Zealand soils have inadequate selenium levels so selenium-deficient produce are common. This mineral is present in selenium rich foods like nuts, broccoli, brown rice, garlic, liver, onions, seafood, salmon, tuna, and whole grains. Selenium foods and herbs include alfalfa, burdock, cayenne, chamomile, fenugreek, garlic, ginseng, milk thistle, nettle, parsley, peppermint and rose hip.
Selenium deficiency may cause infections, growth impairment, impaired liver functions, general weakness and exhaustion, and sterility.
Selenium functions primarily as a powerful antioxidant. It prevents lipid oxidation to avoid formation of free radicals. Together with vitamin E, selenium shields the immune system by fighting free radicals and oxidative damage. Selenium and vitamin E work synergistically to assist in antibody production and to promote healthy heart and liver functions. What’s more, the mineral may prevent the formation of certain tumors.
Selenium also alleviates inflammation of the prostate gland, in conjunction with vitamin E and zinc. Selenium supplementation may deliver a liver protective effect for individuals with liver cirrhosis.
Excessive intake of selenium leads to metallic taste, yellow skin, hair loss (baldness), irritability, brittle skin, digestive upsets and impaired liver and kidney functions.
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