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Selenium is an organic chemical that is mainly derived from soil, water, and plant materials. Obviously, humans mainly acquire it through various plant sources, and since it is required for a number of essential. It is considered a non-metal, and although it is toxic in large quantities, it is necessary for certain cellular functions of animals and people. Therefore, including selenium-rich plant material in your diet is very important for maintaining overall health and wellness. The important health benefits are explained in greater detail below.
Cancer is one of the deadliest diseases on the planet, and remains uncured, so any preventative measures that can be taken are always important. Studies have shown that a normal selenium intake can result in a serious decrease in cancerous cell formation, especially in regards to prostate, colorectal, and lung cancers. Selenium is an essential player in various enzymatic reactions that can induce apoptosis, also known as automatic cell death, specifically for dangerous cancer cells, without harming healthy cells. Free radicals, the byproducts of cellular metabolism that can cause cancer, damage DNA and mutate it to become a cancer cell. Selenium can boost DNA repair and prevent this mutation from occurring. Finally, glutathione superoxidase, an important anti-cancer compound in the body, utilizes selenium for its activity, so significant amounts are needed for those powerful antitumor and anticarcinogenic roles as well.
Studies have shown that selenium is important in the stimulation of antibodies, which are elements of the immune system which can see out and destroy viral, bacterial, fungal, and protozoan foreign bodies that can result in diseases and infections. Selenium helps to stimulate these antibodies, particularly after you receive a vaccination for one of these diseases, making your body resilient and experienced in fighting them off so you remain healthy and protected throughout your life.
Apart from boosting your immune system, selenium also protects your body from wearing down and feeling older than it really is. Selenium has been shown to reduce oxidative stress that often occurs around joints and bones, manifesting as inflammation and various inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, gout, psoriasis, lupus, eczema or associated pain and weakness. By reducing the inflammation at these vital hinges of your body, you can remain active, healthy, and pain-free for many years.
When it comes to the endocrine system and the regulation of hormones in the body, the thyroid gland is one of the most significant and impacting. Research has shown that selenium is an essential component of the thyroid gland’s functions, and helps to regulate the amount of thyroid hormone that is produced within the body. The T3 hormone is one of the most important products of the thyroid gland, and it controls your body’s overall metabolic rate and function. Without selenium, the T3 hormone cannot be produced, which can be catastrophic to a wide variety of your body’s systems.
Although we mentioned free radicals as they relate to cancerous growth in the body, they can actually affect the entire body in a number of terrible ways. Free radicals can weaken or kill cells in every organ system, so the antioxidant potential of selenium is vital for protecting health in far more ways than cancer prevention. Free radicals can result in heart disease, kidney malfunction, digestive issues, metabolic syndrome, hormonal imbalance, and premature aging. Selenium acts as an antioxidant and stimulates the creation of more antioxidants.
Selenium works as a blood thinner, which reduces the chances of blood clots, and it is also shown to reduce the amount of LDL cholesterol that builds up as plaque on the arteries and blood vessels. That plaque can lead to atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes, so selenium is a powerful booster for your overall heart health for a number of reasons.
Some of the best sources for selenium intake for humans are mainly plants and animals, including cereals, nuts, mushrooms, meat, fish, and eggs. It is also found in significant quantities in animal kidneys, tuna, crabs, and lobsters. Brazil nuts are the richest source that has been discovered so far.
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