Selenium – What Is It?
Selenium is one of many ingredients in the Tikva product. The trace Mineral selenium makes its way into our bodies because it is contained in certain foods. Over time, it becomes part of nearly every cell, with particularly high concentrations in the kidneys, liver, pancreas, spleen, and testes.
Only over the past two decades have scientists begun to understand just what a vital role selenium plays in numerous biological functions. Perhaps its most crucial job is to prevent disease.
Selenium has many tasks to perform in the body. It helps to boost the immune system and fight off infection, providing a general increase in the body’s defense against dangerous bacteria, and viruses. On a basic cellular level, every cell in the body needs a particular Hormone from the thyroid gland that selenium helps to convert to an active form.
Perhaps the most famed use of selenium in supplement form is as an Antioxidant; it helps to mop up dangerous molecules known as Free radicals that can damage and alter healthy cells. It has also been recommended for staving off the effects of aging.
Selenium Health Benefits
Cardiovascular Diseases, Atherogenesis, and Metabolic Syndrome
The exciting evidence for selenium’s effectiveness in preventing inflammatory diseases has led scientists to explore its protective effects against other conditions involving oxidative damage. Many of these conditions were previously considered to be “natural” consequences of aging. With the discovery that atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, obesity, and type II diabetes—components of the so-called “metabolic syndrome—are all caused or exacerbated by oxidant stress, selenium may prove to have a valuable preventive and therapeutic role in these conditions as well.
Patients with acute myocardial infarction (heart attack) have been shown to have lower levels of selenium in their plasma, red blood cells, and urine compared to control subjects. Selenium concentrations are also low in some patients with endothelial dysfunction, the inflammatory-mediated precursor to atherosclerosis and hypertension. Supplementation with selenium has been shown to reverse specific chemical markers of endothelial dysfunction. In addition, selenium may help protect against congestive heart failure.
Oxidative stress is both a cause and consequence of chronic renal failure. Patients who suffer form this condition experience exceptionally high levels of cardiovascular disease and death, as well as impaired immune function. Selenium levels are markedly reduced in these patients. Selenium deficiency is especially pronounced in patients on kidney dialysis, who lose considerable amounts of selenium during the dialysis process. This renders them even more vulnerable to further oxidative damage to their cardiovascular systems. Selenium supplementation in dialysis patients has been used successfully to reduce oxidative stress, and has actually been shown to improve immune function as well.
Protect against heart attack and stroke
Selenium may decrease the “stickiness” of the blood, lessening its tendency to clot and thus reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke. In addition, the mineral may encourage healthy heart function by increasing the proportion of HDL (“good”) cholesterol to LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. People who have already had a heart attack or a stroke, or who smoke, appear to benefit the most from selenium.
Some population surveys have suggested an association between lower antioxidant intake and a greater incidence of heart disease. Evidence also suggests that oxidative stress from free radicals, which are natural by-products of oxygen metabolism, may promote heart disease. For example, it is the oxidized form of low-density lipoproteins (LDL, often called “bad” cholesterol) that promotes plaque build-up in coronary arteries. Selenium is one of a group of antioxidants that may help limit the oxidation of LDL cholesterol and thereby help to prevent coronary artery disease. Currently there is insufficient evidence available to recommend selenium supplements for the prevention of coronary heart disease; however, the SU.VI.MAX study mentioned earlier is looking at the effects of antioxidant nutrients such as selenium on heart disease.
-Office Of Dietary Supplements
Guard against cataracts and macular degeneration.
Selenium may help prevent the two most common causes of impaired vision and blindness in older Americans–cataracts and macular degeneration–by providing antioxidant actions that fight free radicals. It’s these free radicals, after all, that often damage the eye’s lens (the site of cataracts) and the macula at the center of the eye’s retina (the site of macular degeneration).
Selenium and arthritis
Surveys indicate that individuals with rheumatoid arthritis, a chronic disease that causes pain, stiffness, swelling, and loss of function in joints, have reduced selenium levels in their blood. In addition, some individuals with arthritis have a low selenium intake.
The body’s immune system naturally makes free radicals that can help destroy invading organisms and damaged tissue, but that can also harm healthy tissue. Selenium, as an antioxidant, may help to relieve symptoms of arthritis by controlling levels of free radicals. Current findings are considered preliminary, and further research is needed before selenium supplements can be recommended for individuals with arthritis.
-Office Of Dietary Supplements
Promote healing of cold sores and shingles.
When the herpes virus erupts from a dormant state in the body, painful cold sores and shingles may appear. Selenium, an immune-system booster, may help suppress this kind of eruption. Interestingly, findings published in Agriculture Research indicate that mice with low levels of selenium or Vitamin E were particularly prone to herpes virus outbreaks.
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