Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Micro-minerals : Selenium

Micro-minerals are organic elements present in the soil. Plants absorb them from their growth medium. We need very small amounts of each micro-mineral in our diet, but they are just as essential as macro-minerals to maintain all nerve and muscle function, teeth, bones and body cells. Micro-minerals are insoluble in water and need to be bonded with a soluble compound before they can be properly utilised. That is why foods are the very best sources.

Functions of selenium:
  • Essential for growth
  • Helps thyroid function
  • Antioxidant
  • Anti-carcinogenic
  • Boosts immunity
  • Anti-ageing

 Sources of selenium:
  • Nuts
  • Whole grains
  • Fish – especially tuna
  • Meat
  • Chicken
  • Kelp
  • Onions and garlic
  • Milk

 Deficiency symptoms:
  • Premature ageing
  • Thyroid problems
  • Frequent infections
  • Misshapen nails
  • Fatigue
  • Impotence / infertility
  • Loose skin
  • Hair and/or skin discolouration
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Keshan disease

 People at risk of depleted selenium:
  • Smokers
  • Alcoholics
  • Anyone undergoing high-dose steroid treatment
  • Anyone with rheumatoid arthritis

Some areas of the world have selenium-deficient soil – notably parts of China, Finland, New Zealand, Africa and the United states. If only local produce is eaten in these areas, deficiency symptoms may occur.

Supplements are unnecessary provided the diet includes plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. Always check with your doctor before taking supplements of any kind. An excess of any micro-mineral can have unpleasant side effects.


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