Selenium is an essential mineral. Your body needs it to function. It protects your cells—and DNA—from free radical damage. But you may not be getting enough.
Selenium levels in soil vary from region to region. Concentrations of it are higher in the Midwest and Western areas of the U.S. than the South and Northeast.1
Poor soil quality and gastrointestinal illnesses put you at risk for low selenium levels. The problem is there are no clear signs of deficiency. Your first symptom could be low immunity, high blood sugar… Or worse. Don’t wait until you know you need more to start paying attention.
Here are five ways selenium can help save your health:
1. Fights Cancer: Low selenium levels in blood, hair, and nail samples could indicate as much as a threefold increase in overall cancer risk. It can make you up to eight times more likely to develop thyroid cancer.
One study found subjects supplementing with selenium lowered their risk for all cancer by 24%. And that effect rose to 36% in people who had the lowest baseline levels of it.2
2. Lowers Diabetes Risk: You don’t have to supplement to see a benefit from selenium… Research in the journal Diabetes Care revealed subjects with selenium-rich diets lowered their type 2 diabetes risk by 24%.3
Oxidative stress and inflammation cause insulin resistance. The more insulin resistant you are, the higher your odds of developing type 2 diabetes. Selenium prevents inflammation. But it also helps control blood sugar levels.4 This means it fights diabetes on two fronts.
3. Supports Thyroid Function: Your thyroid has some of the highest concentrations of selenium in your body. Having low levels means your thyroid won’t be working at its best. Or eventually at all.
It leads to thyroiditis. That’s an inflammation of this organ that makes it attack itself. But one study found taking a selenium supplement cut thyroid inflammation by around 40%.5 Eating a diet rich in this mineral may be the key to balancing your thyroid hormones… And avoiding bigger problems down the line.
4. Protects Your Heart: Researchers at Johns Hopkins found people taking a selenium supplement lowered heart disease risk by 11% compared to a placebo.
That’s just for supplements. Then there are people who had the highest overall concentrations of this mineral in their blood. They were at the lowest risk for facing heart disease… An impressive 24%.6 And this was independent of other risk factors that could’ve been working against the heart-protective benefits of selenium.
5. Boosts Immunity: It helps produce white blood cells. But it also enhances their abilities. Selenium makes your immune system’s NK—killer—cells stronger. This lets them respond faster to outside invaders. Like the flu virus and harmful bacteria.
Plus, selenium binds to toxic minerals. These include arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury. So there’s less inflammation for your immune system to deal with. It also makes them less likely to lead to the growth of cancer in your body.7
You can take a natural supplement to help get more. But your best bet is to eat more foods that are high in selenium. Brazil nuts, oysters, and organic sunflower seeds are a good start. You’ll also get it from grass-fed meat and mushrooms.
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