A. Selenium is not a vitamin, it's a mineral. It was 1973 before its vital role as a very powerful antioxidant was discovered.
Q. What's an antioxidant
A. Antioxidants protect your body from the effect of free radicals. Free radicals are created by the body's use of oxygen: too many cause ageing, damage and disease. Antioxidants include bioflavonoids, vitamins C and E, lycopene, beta-carotene (which the body converts into vitamin A), and the minerals selenium and zinc.
Q. What else does selenium do
A. Where do I start The body needs it to make proteins, for healthy liver function, to boost the immune system, and help remove heavy metals from the body. Also:
Q. How much selenium do you need
A. It's a micronutrient - adults only need 60-70 millionths of a gram (micrograms or mcg) as a daily requirement. Too much is toxic.
Q. How do you know if you are suffering from a deficiency
A. According to a Government report, most people in this country aren't getting enough. The average person is only getting 34mcg a day. Signs of a deficiency are prematurely greying hair, heart disease, ageing and a weakened immune system.
Q. What are the best natural sources
A. How much you find in food depends on how much there was in the soil it was grown in. Generally, the best food sources: brazil nuts, wheatgerm, molasses, sunflower seeds, rice, wholewheat bread, dairy products, eggs, tomatoes, broccoli, kidney, liver and shellfish. You cannot get selenium poisoning from natural sources.
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By Sheena MIller