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Selenium A Significant Trace Element Critical to Health in Today's World

By John Rosenbaum

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Selenium, a trace mineral, is an essential component of antioxidant supplementation; especially to the degree it enhances glutathione peroxidase activity (GSH) as an enzyme catalyst in that each GSH molecule requires four selenium molecules. GSH as reduced glutathione with selenium helping hold the electrons it needs for battle, protects cells against the oxidative stress of aging, toxic exposure, RA, AIDS, cancer, etc, quenches free radicals directly, neutralizes toxic material in the liver and supports its safe excretion. Selenium can block mercury (amalgams), arsenic (heavy contender for selenium's position in binding with sulfur amino acids in GSH) and cadmium (smoking) poisoning. The whole immune system is heavily selenium dependant. In that GSH is synthesized only inside of cells, most GSH works in the cytoplasm between the cell's outer membrane and nucleus protecting the cytoplasm, which by position even more importantly, protects the electron-rich DNA and RNA of the nucleus from any mad rush into the cell when there is excessive free radical activity. With too much DNA disruption, that is, free radicals stealing electrons, the cells destruct (apoptosis). As cancer basically is out-of-control free radical activity, many studies show that various types of cells (intestinal, breast, rectal, prostate, etc,) demonstrate special protective capability due to adequate selenium present to maintain the GSH levels that protect their DNA.

Selenium is often said to act as a birth control for viruses as well as an antimutagenic agent. This makes sense knowing that the viruses must get into and interfere with the hosts DNA and use the host's transcription RNA, ribosome replicating machinery, etc, in order to replicate themselves. In low selenium conditions where the host is under stress, viruses are seen to be more active by the appearance of cold sores, colds, flu, etc; too many stress generated free radicals for the selenium-depleted GSH to handle. Adequate selenium demonstrates to mitigate the harm of virus mutating into more dangerous virulent forms. Why give HIV, the flu or any virus an edge over any system? Selenium assists in gene regulation.

Selenium, at the active center of GSH, also removes hydrogen peroxide and damaging lipid and phospholipid hydroperoxides generated in vivo by free radicals and other oxygen-derived species.  If not removed, lipid hydroperoxides can decompose to give further reactive free-radicals, hydrocarbon gasses and cytotoxic aldehydes including the very noxious 4-hydroxynonenal. Among other deleterious actions, 4-hydroxynonenal is believed to alter the structure of LDL so that it is taken up at high rates by macrophage "scavenger receptors." Cholesterol thus rapidly accumulates within the macrophage and may convert it into a foam cell.  These foam cells are the constituents of fatty streaks that are the first signs of atherosclerosis, the cause of cardiovascular disease. Selenium works synergistically with vitamin E, improving the effectiveness of GSH.  Consider Bio E-Mulsion Forte or E-Mulsion 200.

Selenium even plays an important role in the control of thyroid hormone metabolism. The iodothyronine deiodinases, which are responsible for the conversion of thyroxine (T4) to its active form triiodothyronine (T3), are selenoenzymes.  Selenium deficiency may cause reduced growth rates owing to a feedback response that lowers T3-mediated synthesis of growth hormone in the pituitary, while a combined deficiency of selenium and iodine exacerbates hypothyroidism. Low energy levels affect immune function. It is a phenomenal intertwined circle.

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