Today I will discuss two minerals, which are both important for our health: Selenium and Chromium, involved in the prevention of as well cancer as diabetes. Supplementation might be wise.
Selenium is an important nutrient with several known and well documented functions and qualities.
It is a powerful antioxidant, with a very strong preventive effect against several forms of cancer, especially (but not necessarily limited to) cancer in urinary organs, stomach, liver, pancreas, intestines, liver, and skin.
On a cellular level, it is an important supplement to cancer treatment. A cancer cell is characterised by a lack of respiration and a metabolism based on fermentation. For a healthy cell it is the other way around.
Selenium blocks undesirable fermentation and stimulates healthy respiration. It becomes harder for cancer cells to survive and the preconditions for healthy cells to thrive improves.
Further, Selenium stimulates detoxification. It plays an important role in the protection from environmental pollution and chemicals; and it removes certain toxic heavy metals from the body; most notably mercury and cadmium.
Its effect on the immune system is astonishing. It has shown to increase the number of immune-related blood corpuscles, thus strengthening the defence against debris and alien micro organisms.
For maximal synergy, Selenium should be taken together with vitamin E, and preferably with vitamins A and C too. Lack of gastric acid can disturb intestinal absorption of Selenium. If you think you have that tendency, take ascorbic acid (vitamin C) along with your Selenium. This will temporary increase gastric acidity and reduce the risk of failed absorption.
High dose Selenium is toxic. Once I was involved in a murder investigation where long-term high dose Selenium had been used to kill someone. (No, I was not one of the suspects!) It was very difficult to detect this since Selenium is no alien substance in the body. It could very well have passed as death by natural cause.
Yet the great fear of taking too much of this powerful nutrient is exaggerated. Many sources state daily 200 mcg (note: microgrammes) as maximum - I would say that it is minimum. You need to take over 2000 mcg daily for a long time before reaching a dangerous level.
For a healthy individual, a suitable dose for supplementation is 200-1000 mcg per day. If you feel uncomfortable with the risk of toxicity or if you are unused to high dose supplementation of nutrients, do not exceed 1000 mcg per day.
Some good natural sources of Selenium are: brewer's yeast; kelp and various forms of seafood; garlic and onions; buckwheat; whole grains; eggs; and mushrooms.
It is important to note that the level of Selenium in the soil determines how much there is in the food grown there. This makes everything grown in especially Selenium-poor soils worthless in this respect.
Here I want to take the opportunity to warn you against a common error, which is not harmless when dealing with a potentially toxic substance. In literature, it is not uncommon that mcg are mistakenly written as mg. (1mg is 1000mcg.)
If the author means to tell you to take 200mcg Selenium per day, but states 200mg, that would mean 200000mcg - a clearly toxic dose! Such an error can be dangerous, and it makes me think of the words of Mark Twain: "Be careful while reading health books, you might die of a misprint." I would say, think of what you are reading. If you find that you would need to take 100 or maybe 1000 tablets per day to reach the dose you want, then it is time to consider if something in your information might be wrong. This comment ought to be superfluous, but you cannot imagine what people can get into their heads !!
Selenium is not only an important nutrient, it has always served technical purposes as well. One of its most interesting properties is that it is sensitive to light. Its electrical conductivity changes with changing light intensity. This is the basis for the photo electric Selenium cell, which has previously been used in many devices. One application of this was early electric musical instruments, such as Spielmann's Super Piano (1927).
Chromium is essential for the metabolism of glucose (sugar). It is a part of GTF (Glucose Tolerance Factor), a substance stored in the liver. Further, Chromium is present in and on all cells.
Insulin is inactive until Chromium binds to it. For a healthy individual, the levels of Chromium and insulin in the blood increase when the glucose level does. For a diabetic, the level of Chromium does not.
How far a deficiency of Chromium is a contributory factor to diabetes is unclear. It certainly disturbs the glucose metabolism, which includes that of alcohol. (After all, alcohol is nothing but further refined sugar.)
Chromium is important for the reparation of damaged RNA/DNA, for healthy eyes, and seems to have a role in preventing atherosclerosis. (More research is needed here.)
As a supplement, 200 mcg (0.2mg) per day is a suitable dose. Toxicity has not been established, but I would suggest that you never take more than 1000 mcg.
Some good natural sources are: brewer's yeast, black pepper, wheat germ, apricots, raisins, almonds, cheese.
Other articles related to vitamins/nutrients:
Understanding Dietary Fats Part 1 (of 2)
Understanding Dietary Fats Part 2 (of 2)
Why Dietary Supplements are Needed
Supplements, Getting Them Right: Some Points to Consider
Iron & Cancer
Co-Enzyme Q10 & Carnitine
Lutein & Zeaxanthin: Nutrients that Protect Your Eyes from Ageing
Not Only Beta-Carotene: Carotenoids (Carotenes & Xanthophylls)
Salicylic Acid: Is Aspirin a Vitamin?
Vitamin A - Function & Need
Vitamin D – Underrated Vitamin?
Nicotinic Acid, the Real Super Vitamin!
Vitamin E - A Powerful Vitamin
Vitamin C (part 1): Can Science be Trusted?
Vitamin C (part 2): How to Use & What it Does
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