What is Selenium?
Selenium is an essential trace element of fundamental importance to human health. The most abundant sources of selenium are Brazil nuts, seafood, meat and poultry People at risk of selenium deficiency include those with a restricted food intake (slimmers, vegetarians, the elderly), pregnant and lactating women, and those living in geographical regions with selenium depleted soils. It is recognized that soils in many areas of the world, including the UK, are deficient in selenium, often as a result of continual or intensive farming. This deficiency is manifest upwards through the food chain via plants and animals, culminating in man. A good example of this is Keshan disease, an endemic cardiomyopathy resulting from severely selenium depleted soil in the Keshan region of China-a problem that was eventually eliminated by the addition of a selenium supplement to dietary salt.
In Scandinavian countries, selenium is added to agricultural fertilizers to increase depleted soil selenium levels, resulting in an increase in population average selenium intake from 30 to 90 microgm/day. Dietary selenium always occurs in an organic form (i.e. bound to an amino acid such as methionine or cysteine), whereas selenium in supplements may be organic or inorganic in form. The absorption of organic selenium (selenomethionine, selenocysteine) is generally more efficient than for inorganic selenium (e.g. sodium selenite), and the absorption of organic forms of selenium is not reduced by concurrent intake of vitamin C. Selenium levels are depleted by smoking or drinking alcohol.
What does Selenium do?
Selenium is an essential component of the key antioxidant enzyme glutathione peroxidase, which acts in concert with other types of antioxidants (particularly vitamin E) to protect the body from the effects of damaging free radicals. Selenium helps to maintain a healthy immune system, which is important in resistance to infectious bacteria and viruses. Selenium plays important roles in the control of normal thyroid hormone metabolism, and in maintaining fertility by promoting sperm motility. Selenium also helps to protect the body from the toxic effects of heavy metals such as mercury.
Deficiencies of selenium or zinc have been identified as important factors in promoting the growth of Candida species, as a consequence of the adverse effects of such deficiencies on immune function and thyroid/adrenal hormone metabolism.
What does Selenium do in relation to Oral health?
Selenium helps to protect the body from the toxic effects of heavy metals such as mercury from amalgam fillings. Amalgam fillings release mercury vapour which is absorbed into the bloodstream with potentially harmful effects. Selenium binds to heavy metals rendering them harmless. British diets are very low in minerals and antioxidants, in particular selenium. The basis for our natural defense mechanisms may be too weak and so make mercury poisoning even more dangerous. This is why it is advisable to take measures to deal directly with the problem of amalgam fillings and ensure that our diets contain sufficient selenium and antioxidants.
How much Selenium should you take?
The Government recommended intake for selenium is 55 microgm/day for women and 70 microgm/day for men. The average intake of selenium in the UK was estimated by MAFF in 1994 to be approximately 31 microgm/day. A reduction in selenium intake within the UK population resulted from decreased imports of selenium rich wheat from the USA and Canada. Most experts now agree that the optimum dosage for long term use of selenium supplements should be between 100 to 400 microgm/day, and up to 600 microgm/day for restricted periods (e.g. during infection). The effects of selenium are enhanced by also taking vitamin E supplements (400 IU/day).
Are there adverse effects from taking Selenium?
Toxic effects due to excessive selenium intake occur at doses greater than 900 microgm/day, typically manifesting initially as loss of hair and nails There are no reported drug interactions with selenium.
About Pharma-Nord Selenium supplements
Bio-Selenium plus Zinc is a multiple nutritional supplement designed by Pharma-Nord to meet the daily requirement for the basic antioxidants, which act synergistically with selenium when supplemented in combination. We use our own ingredient, SelenoPrecise. This product has a high and stable content of l-selenomethionine and 30 other organic selenium compounds boasting a guaranteed total absorption of 89%. Each tablet contains (recommended daily allowance in parenthesis): 100microgm selenium (200%); 90mg vitamin C (150%); 15mg vitamin E (150%); 1.6 mg Vitamin B6 (80%); 15mg zinc (100%). The intake recommended by Pharma-Nord is 1 tablet/day.
What is Selenium?