It’s the most important mineral you’ve never heard of.
And it may be the secret weapon in our (losing) battle against cancer… among other diseases.
The good news is that cancer is killing fewer people than it did 25 years ago.1 But the number of cancer cases is on the rise.2 And all of those expensive treatments have Big Pharma’s wallet busting at the seams.
In all, global spending on cancer care was $133 billion in 2017 (the latest year that stats are available).3 And the list price of new cancer therapies is steadily going up.
Today, the median annual cost of a new cancer drug exceeds $150,000. That’s a sharp spike compared with $79,000 in 2013.
With this much money on the line, it’s no surprise that you aren’t hearing about cheap and natural preventative measures.
But there is one. It’s called selenium. And it has a long list of benefits you shouldn’t ignore.4
An Essential Cancer Preventer?
This micronutrient is an essential mineral… meaning that it can be obtained only through your diet.
And even though you need just a small amount of it, an estimated 15% of the world’s population currently has a selenium deficiency.5
When folks have low selenium levels, the early warning signs are numbness, weakness, fatigue and a slowing memory.
Continue down this path and the incidence of prostate, lung, colorectal and esophageal cancer rises dramatically, as many studies have shown.
But when this single element is ingested adequately, rates for these cancers drop by 71%, 46%, 62% and 67%, respectively, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.6
But it’s not just the fight against cancer that makes selenium so important.
Not All Heroes Wear Capes
This superhero of a micronutrient protects your DNA. It prevents chromosomal damage while fighting free radicals. It’s also an important antioxidant and supports the immune system.
Your thyroid also needs proper levels of selenium to function properly and stay healthy. Without it, your metabolism can fall out of whack. Worse still, selenium deficiency has been linked to autoimmune disorders that attack the thyroid gland.7
A small study published in the European Journal of Nutrition found that patients with mild cognitive impairment showed improvements after ingesting selenium-rich Brazil nuts daily.8
There may even be a link between selenium and Alzheimer’s. Several studies have shown patients with this terrible disease have lower levels of selenium in their blood,9 suggesting selenium could play an important preventative role.
Between fighting viruses and bacteria, boosting your immune system, staving off cancer, and supporting healthy lungs and fertility, selenium’s work is never done. And that’s why you need to make sure you’re getting enough.
The Optimal Amount
As I wrote a couple of weeks ago, our food supply is being depleted of nutrients.
Certain fertilizers drain selenium from the soil. So do poor crop rotation practices.
Plants can’t absorb minerals that aren’t in the soil. And if your food isn’t absorbing selenium, guess what? You’ve got a selenium deficiency on your hands.
It’s true that trace amounts of this micronutrient can be found in many foods. Lean meats, poultry, eggs, legumes and nuts are particularly rich in selenium. Brazil nuts score particularly high.
So how much is right?
The RDA of selenium for adults and children over 14 is 55 micrograms per day.
But this is not the optimal amount…
To get the protective effects of this mighty warrior, I suggest 200 micrograms per day. So eating just a couple of Brazil nuts a day should put you on the right track… as would a few oysters.
There are also supplements that can fill in the gap. But not all supplements are created equally.
The most effective supplements are made from selenium yeast known as SelenoExcell.
My only word of advice with these supplements is that you need to take a Goldilocks approach. You don’t want too little. But too much selenium (above 400 micrograms per day) can have some nasty side effects, like nausea, balding and even skin discoloration.
And if you’re on blood thinners, please talk to your doctor before deciding what dose will work best for you.
With the myriad body, mind and longevity benefits, I recommend everybody take a look at selenium. The rewards for your health are too crucial to ignore.