How strong is your immune system? Do you feel well and energetic or do you suffer with frequent infections?

Selenium is the most important mineral for the immune system and the liver to function at their optimal level; indeed without adequate selenium in your body, your immune system and liver will remain vulnerable to attack.

People who don’t get enough selenium in their diet are more likely to come down with frequent infections, and it takes them much longer to recover from infections. This is because it is much easier for viruses to replicate inside your body if there is an inadequate selenium level inside your cells. Basically, viruses can have a party in your body if there isn’t enough selenium to stop them. I often refer to selenium as the “viral birth control pill” because of its ability to inhibit viral replication.

People who don’t get enough selenium in their body are more likely to suffer with fatigue and swollen glands, as their body struggles to overcome infections. Unfortunately it is very difficult to obtain sufficient selenium through your diet, as very few foods are a rich source of this important mineral.

What are the symptoms and consequences of selenium deficiency?

  • Increased risk of thyroid disease, especially Hashimoto’s disease and Graves’ disease
  • Increased risk of allergies and chemical sensitivities
  • Increased incidence of inflammatory problems
  • Increased incidence of autoimmune diseases
  • Higher morbidity rates in people with chronic viral hepatitis
  • Higher morbidity and mortality rates in people with AIDS
  • Higher viral loads
  • Increased incidence of many different types of cancer
  • Frequent colds and flu
  • Increased susceptibility to infections of all types
  • Persistent infection of the cervix with the human papilloma virus (HPV)
  • Incurable warts on the skin or genitals
  • Increased severity of many types of liver disease

The above consequences seem very serious; indeed most people get a shock that something as simple as the mineral selenium can be associated with such a diverse and significant range of common health problems. This is largely because selenium can protect the deepest part of your body’s cells – the nucleus which contains your genes (DNA).

Selenium has been shown to stimulate death (apoptosis) in tumor cells, and a low selenium status predicts a poorer outcome in those with certain cancers.  Geographic studies have shown that people who live in areas with selenium deficient soils and have a low selenium intake, have higher cancer mortality rates.

Studies have shown that low serum selenium levels are associated with higher risks of various types of cancer, including liver cancer. Selenium supplementation is vital in those with all types of chronic liver disease, as it reduces the risk of liver cancer.

Selenium helps to detoxify your liver

Selenium is a great detoxifier – this is because it is required for the production and action of glutathione peroxidase in the liver. Glutathione peroxidase is an antioxidant enzyme necessary for detoxification and protection of the liver against free radical damage.  This is why we have included selenium in the Livatone Plus formula.

Some studies have shown that selenium levels appear to be severely depleted in patients suffering with liver disease, especially cirrhosis and hepatitis.

Can you get enough selenium from food?

The selenium content of food is directly related to how much selenium was in the soil where the food was grown.

Normally selenium is found in Brazil nuts, organ meats, seafood, whole grains, brewer’s yeast, garlic, kelp, molasses, onions and medicinal mushrooms (reishi and shitake mushrooms).

Although seafood caught in its natural habitat is higher in selenium, much seafood sold for human consumption is raised in fish farms and fed pellets (largely composed of grains).

Selenium levels in the soil are unreliable; thus it is virtually impossible to obtain enough selenium through diet alone, especially if you are battling a nasty virus.

Apart from deficient soils and poor diet, other factors that may make you selenium deficient include –

  • Exposure to heavy metals, such as mercury and lead
  • Prior use of chemotherapy drugs to fight cancer
  • Diseases of the intestines such as gastritis, Crohn’s disease, colitis, celiac disease or irritable bowel syndrome. If you have a digestive problem, you may not be absorbing enough selenium from your food. If you are taking a stomach acid blocking drug (antacid), you will also not be absorbing selenium well enough.

How much selenium should you take?

Safe and beneficial doses of selenium in adults range from 100mcg to 400mcg daily.
Many people will need to take more than 100mcg daily to get the best results, and many of the studies done on selenium used a daily dose of 200mcg to achieve good outcomes. This is the dose you will obtain from taking just one Selenomune Designer Energy capsule per day. The recommended daily intake (RDI) of 65-80mcg daily is contentious and many nutritionists argue that the RDI should be raised to 200mcg for adequate immune function.

Other tips for strengthening your immune system

  • Try to get adequate sleep and rest. Even if you eat well, your immune system will suffer if you don’t sleep enough or sleep well.
  • Make sure you have a healthy digestive system. If you regularly suffer with gas, bloating, indigestion, constipation or diarrhea, it means something is very wrong with your digestive tract. People often say “you are what you eat” but I prefer to say “you are what you absorb”. If your digestion is poor, you won’t extract the goodness from your food and nutritional supplements. Taking a digestive enzyme supplement with each meal can go a long way to remedying this.
  • Try to get some regular and safe sunshine exposure. Exposing your skin to the sun's UVB rays enables your body to manufacture vitamin D. UVB rays are mostly present in the middle of the day. Many people are not able to get outside into the sunshine due to indoor jobs and other commitments. Also in many parts of the world the sun's rays are too weak during winter, therefore vitamin D production becomes inadequate. Vitamin D is extremely important for a healthy immune system; it helps your body to fight infections and reduces inflammation, thereby helping autoimmune disease and allergies.
  • Avoid sugar, or minimize your consumption of it. It weakens your immune system, and also sugar is food for bacteria, yeast and other pathogens. Stop giving the bad bugs in your body fuel to grow. Removing sugar from your diet will make it much easier to overcome an infection. If you really struggle with cravings, Glicemic Balance capsules contain herbs and nutrients to stabilize your blood sugar and prevent low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia), which can lead to out of control sugar cravings.
  • Don’t forget to eat plenty of vegetables. The weather in the northern hemisphere is becoming cooler, but it’s still important to eat lots of vegetables. You don’t have to eat a salad on a freezing cold day; you can include lots of veggies in a soup, stew, casserole or curry. I’m a big fan of vegetable juices as they provide a concentrated dose of easily digested vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

The above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.