Trace minerals are only needed in tiny amounts. For this reason they’ve only recently been recognized as essential for good health. Selenium is one trace mineral which has recently been noted for it’s ability to boost the immune system. It is also a strong antioxidant. The waste products of metabolism, free radicals, are normally neutralized by antioxidants. When there are not enough antioxidants to neutralize them all, the immune system becomes weaker, we age faster and cancer develops.
Selenium is the major build block of substances called seleonoproteins. Selenoproteins are very strong antioxidants and help prevent cancer, increase our tolerance for stress and slow down aging. When are body is under stress a number of reactions are sped up. In our evolutionary history this was a survival mechanism. However, when these reactions speed up, they create an abundance of waste projects called free radicals. Antioxidants, like selenium, help increase our tolerance for stress by neutralizing these waste products before they can damage our cells. Selenium is also very efficient at preventing cancer. It is a major component of a tumor inhibiting protein. As such, selenium helps boost the body’s normal, natural defenses against cancer.
Selenium also helps control the healthy function of the thyroid. People who are iodine deficient are often given selenium to help them. The thyroid is an important part of our immune system as this is where are immune cells mature. These immune cells are a type of white blood cell. Selenium is also used by the body in the formation of white blood cells. People with HIV often have a deficiency of selenium as chronic immune activation wears down the immune system. Other illnesses that affect the white blood cell count may deplete selenium from the body. A supplement may be useful in these cases.
Selenium complements a number of vitamins to strengthen their antioxidant properties and to control inflammation. Inflammation is a normal reaction intended to help the immune system. However, it can be harmful when it is chronic or too widespread. Vitamin E is enhanced by selenium to control run away inflammation caused by diseases like Lupus, arthritis or Crohns’ Disease. Vitamin C’s ability to neutralize free radicals is greatly enhanced by selenium, making it a super antioxidant. Supplementing vitamins C and E with selenium will help fortify the immune system.
Asthma is a disease caused by inflammation of the air passages in the lungs. Smoking can also cause inflammation of these tissues. Many smokers do not have sufficient levels of selenium. This might be caused by their selenium being depleted as it works to control the inflammation of their lung tissues caused by smoking. A selenium supplement would definitely benefit most smokers.
Although toxicity is rare, it is possible to get too much selenium. You should ask your doctor before supplementing your diet with selenium. And of course, follow the recommended dosage given by the supplement manufacturer. A lack of selenium won’t make you ill but having the right amount works to prevent a number of disorders. Absorption of selenium can be negatively impacted by some illnesses, especially ones affecting the gastrointestinal tract. Water soluble minerals, like those contained in a liquid supplement, will be absorbed much better.
A liquid supplement for selenium can certainly help strengthen the immune system by making sure the body has an adequate supply of selenium. This is particularly important to people with inflammatory illnesses, weakened immune systems and smokers.