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Selenium is an amazing and fascinating element. A few of its salient qualities are:
– Selenium, along with iodine, is also a critical mineral for proper thyroid activity. Selenium deficiency is a major reason for the almost epidemic levels of thyroid problems in the world.
– It is required for so many enzymes that they are not possible to count. Science has only discovered a few of them at this time.
– Selenium is required for the activity of certain areas of the brain that open a person to higher emotions and higher thought. In this sense, selenium is the mineral that allows higher thought in human beings and in animals. For this reason and next one, it can be called a ‘spiritual mineral’.
SOURCES OF TOXIC SELENIUM
Some selenium compounds are quite toxic. The most common source of toxic selenium is selenium-containing dandruff shampoos such as Selsun Blue shampoo and Naturaltech Purifying Shampoo by Davines. Avoid these and any other selenium-containing hair products.
Occasionally, a water supply will be contaminated with toxic selenium that is an industrial waste product. Water contamination more often affects birds and other wildlife.
PHYSIOLOGICAL ROLES OF SELENIUM
Thyroid gland activity. Selenium has many roles that affect the functioning of the thyroid gland. They include:
– Selenium is required to produce thyroid hormone, called tetraiodothyronine or T4.
– It is required for the conversion of T4 to the more active form of the hormone, called triiodothyronine or T3.
– It helps get rid of Hashimoto’s disease also called Hashimoto’s autoimmune thyroiditis.
– It counteracts the ocular or eye dysfunction of common hyperthyroidism. This is also called Grave’s disease orbitopathy, and characterized by exothalamus (protrusion of the eyeball), and proptosis (movement outward of the eye). These occur in response to swelling and inflammation of the muscles and structures behind and around the eyeball.
Detoxification. Selenium is required for glutathione synthesis. Glutathione is one of the most important substances in the human body. It is produced in the liver and elsewhere and is required for detoxification within the liver and in every body cell.
Glutathione production depends on the availability of several amino acids, along with available iron and selenium. A low level of glutathione results in impaired detoxification throughout the body.
Anti-oxidant activity. Selenium also functions as an anti-oxidant substance. This means it helps scavenge or neutralize singlet oxygen atoms in the body. These cause oxidant damage, which just means oxidation or mixing with oxygen.
A well-known example of how oxidation damages metal is rusting. A similar activity can occur in human bodies.
Infection-fighting ability. Selenium enhances the immune response. This has to do with all of the roles above.
Cancer prevention and possibly correction. Dr. Emanuel Revicci and some other researchers used selenium products to help reverse cancer in a non-toxic manner. The reason it works may be the physiological effects described above.
Mental health. Selenium, along with silicon, helps impart a relaxed and happy quality to the personality.
Selenium has other roles in the body, as well. The ones above are considered the most important ones.
SYMPTOMS OF DEFICIENCY AND TOXICITY
Selenium deficiency is extremely common today. The reasons are:
– Most diets are deficient in selenium.
– Selenium is required for detoxification, and this is a burden on the bodies of almost everyone. Thus, even more selenium is required.
Physical symptoms often include impaired hair and nail growth, fatigue that can be severe, and nervous sensitivity and irritability. One may also have a tendency for infections and cancer, an impaired immune response, and weak adrenal activity. Other symptoms may include hypoglycemia, allergies, asthma, low or high blood pressure, and arterial disease.
Mental or emotional symptoms include irritability, anxiety, feeling hopeless, depressed, and negative, and being pleasant to be around. They all have low thyroid function, even if the serum thyroid hormone levels seem normal.
Selenium can be toxic if consumed in an incorrect form or if too much is ingested.
Industrial contamination. Selenium toxicity occurs due to industrial contamination of water supplies. This mostly affects animals because most human water supplies are monitored for excess selenium.
The poisoning causes conditions called selenosis, blind staggers and alkali disease. These diseases give us indicators of the effects of too much or toxic forms of selenium.
Dandruff shampoo. The most common cause of selenium toxicity in human beings is the use of Selsun Blue or other dandruff shampoos. These products contain a toxic form of selenium that is absorbed into the scalp. Avoid all selenium-containing shampoos and dandruff products.
Effect on copper. Toxic forms of selenium cause the human hair level of copper to decrease into the poor eliminator or very poor eliminator ranges. The reason is that the toxic selenium damages the liver, which is then unable to detoxify copper.
A good substitute is Head N Shoulders shampoo, which contains zinc, rather than selenium.
SELENIUM AS ONE OF THE “AMIGOS”
An oxidized and toxic form of selenium is often used by our bodies to support adrenal glandular activity in the body. This phenomenon is called the amigos, or the friends.
The same phenomenon occurs with oxidized forms of iron, manganese, aluminum, nickel, cobalt, chromium, boron, calcium, magnesium and other trace minerals. All of these minerals can form oxides that the body may use to irritate and stimulate adrenal activity.
They are called amigos because the first three above are usually found together in the body and they all perform a similar function.
This form of selenium must be eliminated from the body. It cannot be converted easily and used by the body.