Selenium and the Thyroid
Selenium is one of the minerals that are believed to be necessary for life in its earliest forms several million years ago. Almost all organisms need this dietary element. Blue-green algae in particular have utilized selenium as an antioxidant since their existence has begun. On the other hand, more complex eukaryotes such as human beings have learned to use selenium in many different ways, and this includes the activation of antioxidant activities of enzymes. More importantly, the minute quantities of selenium are very much present in countless chemical reactions in the human body, making it quite ubiquitous at the cellular level.
Deficiency in selenium is not unheard of. In fact, it is common in regions with marked absence of selenium in the soil. It is needed by plants and the animals that consume them to activate certain enzymatic reactions. People who get their food from their own regions may develop signs of selenium deficiency if the sources of food, whether plants or animals, do not get enough selenium in the first place.
Selenium an antioxidant
Modulates Antioxidant Defense
The primary nutrients of single-celled microorganisms that have existed for more than three billion years include selenium. It is considered by scientists as the most primitive antioxidant present in both prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms. The role of selenium in human beings has changed a little in comparison with other animals, but its presence is still necessitated in the activation of enzymes that produce antioxidants. It is even referred to as an antioxidant nutrient due to the fact that most of the antioxidant defenses of the human body will collapse without selenium. Excessive levels of this element are known to be toxic, but getting the right amounts will certainly modulate the body’s responses to free radicals.
Prevents Diseases of the Thyroid
People think of iodine when they hear the word thyroid. What most people may not know is that iodine works in conjunction with selenium in the productions of thyroid hormones. The thyroid gland plays a major role in metabolism. The rate at which chemical reactions respond to the needs of the body is controlled by the releases of thyroid hormones. Iodine, being an important constituent of these hormones and their transports in the bloodstream, is indispensable to metabolic processes. However, the same processes necessitate trace amounts of selenium. Simply put, metabolism is compromised without selenium.
Selenium and the Immune System
Strengthens Immune Responses
There are numerous interrelated chemical reactions that lead to the productions of antibodies and protein complexes in the employ of the immune system. The immune system no doubt benefits from selenium, and studies that correlate specific immune responses to availability of selenium have surfaced in the past few years. One of these studies point to its effect on releases of neutrophils, primary white blood cells released during infections. Experts agree that selenium is a dietary nutrient with a required daily value. Not surprisingly, individuals who have healthy levels of selenium have been noted to display stronger immune defenses against infections, notably those diagnosed with HIV.
Selenium is an inexpensive supplement that should be taken daily to maintain good thyroid function and health.