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Selenium deficiency increases heart disease and cancer incidence

Wednesday, April 13, 2011 by: John Phillip
Tags: selenium, deficiency, health news

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(NaturalNews) Researchers reporting in the FASEB Journal found that selenium deficiency in the American diet may be a significant foundation for the rampant proliferation of heart disease and cancer over the past several decades. By analyzing data from hundreds of published studies, Dr. Bruce Ames of the Children`s Hospital Oakland Research Institute determined that selenium-dependent proteins deprived of the essential mineral pave a path toward chronic disease early in life that may threaten our long-term survival past our reproductive years. We need to obtain selenium in the proper form from an early age to dramatically lower the risk from heart disease and cancer in later life.

Dr. Ames subscribes to the newly developed `triage theory` that explains why age-related diseases like heart disease, cancer, and dementia may be "unintended consequences of mechanisms developed during evolution to protect against episodic vitamin/mineral shortages." The theory provides evidence that critical shortages of vitamins and minerals such as selenium cause the body to use all available resources to preserve life and biological functions over the short-term and to ensure reproduction. Depleting essential nutrients caused by a poor diet leads to unintended proliferation of chronic disease risk as we pass through mid-life and beyond.

There are twelve selenoproteins of which five are considered essential and seven are known to be nonessential to human health. Interestingly, an analysis of the available studies concludes that it is the nonessential selenoprotein availability and concentration that may be the most important in determining optimal health or progression toward chronic illness. Dr. Ames found that "among all selenoproteins, dysfunction of those that are nonessential is likely to be the major contributor to increased disease risk due to selenium deficiency."

Selenium in its various forms is required for the proper formation and folding of 50 to 100 different proteins that perform a wide variety of functions throughout the body. Extensive research confirms the critical nature of selenium in the prevention of cancer as it supports normal immune function to halt aberrant cell growth. Information published in the journal Biochemistry found that there are two types of selenium known as SeMet and MeSeCys that are processed differently to provide a chemo protective shield.

Researchers working to determine the ability of selenium to prevent breast cancer found that the MeSeCys form of selenium was significantly more effective in protecting against the insidious disease compared to the SeMet version of the mineral. The study found that breast cancer cells processed the two different forms of selenium differently leading to the protective nature of the MeSeCys form.

Recommended daily intake levels of selenium are 55 mcg, making many people deficient due to poor soil conditions and inadequate diet. Nutrition experts recommend 200 mcg for optimal disease protection but don`t specify between MeSeCys or SeMet forms. Health-minded individuals will want to ensure a natural and organic diet to maximize their selenium intake and may want to consider supplementing with a broad-range selenium supplement to help prevent cancer and heart disease.

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About the author

John Phillip is a Health Researcher and Author who writes regularly on the cutting edge use of diet, lifestyle modifications and targeted supplementation to enhance and improve the quality and length of life. John is the author of 'Your Healthy Weight Loss Plan', a comprehensive EBook explaining how to use Diet, Exercise, Mind and Targeted Supplementation to achieve your weight loss goal. Visit My Optimal Health Resource to continue reading the latest health news updates, and to download your Free 48 page copy of 'Your Healthy Weight Loss Plan'.
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