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NutriPlus with Organic Selenium

About Selenium

What Is Selenium?
•  Organic And Inorganic Selenium Explained
Why Does Our Body Need Selenium?
Why Does Our Diet Lack Selenium?
Why Add Selenium To Eggs?
Benefits Of Selenium
Recommended Selenium Intake

What Is Selenium?

Selenium (Se) is a trace mineral that is required by the human body and is of fundamental importance in ensuring good health. Selenium was discovered in 1817 by Jons Berzelius and takes its name from the Greek word Selene (the goddess of the moon). Until recently, selenium was a little-known trace mineral. International research on Selenium has established that it is an essential component of the human diet in the sustaining of good health and general well-being because of its protective and preservative characteristics. It has also been found that selenium deficiency may lead to increased susceptibility to disease and ill health.

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Organic And Inorganic Selenium Explained
Selenium exists in two chemical forms in nature, Organic Selenium and Inorganic Selenium. Inorganic Selenium can be found in different minerals in the form of selenite, selenate and selenide as well as in metallic form. In contrast, in vegetable feed Organic Selenium is an integral part of amino acids. Therefore, in nature animals receive selenium mainly in the organic form. Research had shown that Organic Selenium is far more beneficial for us as our body absorbs and retain Organic Selenium at a better rate.
Organic Selenium vs Inorganic Selenium
Organic Selenium
Inorganic Selenium
Exists in the form of seleno-amino acids, i.e. selenomethionine.
Exists in the form of mineral salt.
Is actively absorbed by amino acid routes.
Is passively absorbed from the small intestine.
More Organic Selenium is retained by our bodies.
Most of the unused Inorganic Selenium in our bodies is excreted.
Our tissues store Organic Selenium and hold it in reserve for times of greatest need, such as during times of stress.
Only a small amount of Inorganic Selenium finds its way into body protein.
Organic Selenium is retained by our body in useful form.
Inorganic Selenium is poorly retained.
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Why Does Our Body Need Selenium?

Selenium is a component of several antioxidant proteins such as glutathione peroxidase, superoxide dismutase and catalase. Antioxidants neutralize the toxic by-products of oxygen metabolism. These by-products are known as free radicals which can cause damage to cellular components including DNA. Antioxidants are essential to human health as it helps protect against environmental carcinogens and cardiovascular disease, protects our skin from solar ray damages and may be important in fighting the effects of Alzheimer’s and other age-related illnesses.

Glutathione Peroxidase (GSH-Px): Each molecule of gluthathione peroxide contains four atoms of selenium. Thus selenium is a key component of the body's defence against the degenerative effects of age and exposure to toxic free radicals.

Superoxide Dismutase: An enzyme that destroys the superoxide radical

Catalase: An enzyme that produces Vitamin E, a general antioxidant.

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Why Does Our Diet Lack Selenium?

The selenium content in food is becoming a health issue as the average levels of selenium in our diets have fallen and is well below the amounts recommended for optimum health.

The lower availability of selenium in our diets can be attributed to low soil selenium levels or low selenium absorption in crops that are cultivated in acidic and poorly aerated land. Faster growing crop varieties and less root development reduces the opportunity for such crops to accumulate selenium from the soil. Also, increased crop density and yield has lead to minerals in agricultural land to diminish faster.

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Why Add Selenium To Eggs?

As eggs are a regularly consumed item in our diets, they would be an ideal food source of Selenium for our bodies. Although Selenium is not readily absorbed into eggs, the American company Alltech Biotechnology has developed a special feed which can increase the level of Selenium in broilers and layers, and consequently the eggs. This feed had the approval of the US Food and Drug Administration body (FDA). As the recommended daily amount (RDA) of Selenium intake for our diets in estimated to be 75ug by nutritionists, the consumption of two NutriPlus Enriched with Organic Selenium eggs a day, which contains 22 micrograms of Selenium per egg, will be sufficient.

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Benefits Of Selenium

•  Cancer prevention

Selenium, a trace mineral essential in ensuring good health, has also been found to be an effective weapon against cancer.

The human body is made up of trillions of cells. These cells are supposed to multiply in orderly manner to replace old and worn-out cells with new cells. But the human body also produces free radicals to generate energy and destroy bacteria.

Daily exposure to pollution sources such as exhaust fumes, cigarette smoke as well as solar rays causes the body to produce excessive free radicals.

This can lead to damage to the cell and the DNA within it, causing the cell to multiply uncontrollably, thus triggering the development of cancerous cells.

Free radicals also suppress the body's natural immune system, reducing the body's ability to detect defective cells before they develop into tumours.

The level of free radicals in our body can be controlled and maintained by antioxidants. Antioxidants inhibit the oxidation process in the cell caused by free radicals, thus reducing oxidation damage to our cells.

Selenium is an excellent antioxidant and an essential component of glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px), which neutralises toxic peroxide produced during normal metabolism.

A: Antioxidants protect the cell against damage by free radicals, and the cell's vital parts remain unharmed.

B: The cell membrane is attacked and oxidised by free radicals, causing the cell to be weakened.

Glutathione peroxidase, along with selenium, is crucial for the body in its fight against cancer. However, the level of gluthathione peroxidase is reduced with advancing age as well as by consuming drugs, alcohol and high-fat/low-fibre diet.

Selenium works more effectively in combination with other antioxidants like vitamin E. Vitamin E, taken with selenium enhances Selenium's anti-tumour and antioxidant properties.

The selenium-cancer reduction link was first discovered in the late 1960's.

Quoting Dr Margaret Rayman of the University of Surrey (UK): "Hundreds of studies have been conducted to investigate the effect of selenium on cancer prevention during recent years. The vast majority of the studies have shown highly positive effects of selenium on various types of cancer in humans."

Dr. Larry Clark, from the Arizona Cancer Centre, found from his studies that selenium supplements reduced the risk of lung cancer by 46%, colon cancer by 58%, and prostate cancer by 63%, with an overall reduction of 37% in all types of cancers. It also showed a 50% reduction in cancer mortality.

•  Immune System

Selenium supplements, it is able to protect against oxidative damages to the RNA virol genome. Selenium also plays a key role in the functioning of the immune system as it increases the number of interleukin-2 (IL-2) receptors on the surface T-cells. T-cells do the actual killing of invading pathogens. IL-2 is a hormone like substance that stimulates T-cells to proliferate and function.
Recent studies on viruses by Beck and co-workers have shown that in a body with selenium deficiency, harmless viruses can become virulent. But with selenium supplements, it is able to protect against this development of virulence, which is believed to be the result of oxidative damages to the RNA virol genome.

•  Fertility

Selenium is essential for male fertility, as it is required for testosterone biosynthesis and for the normal development of spermatozoa. Recent studies with sperm have revealed two sperm specific selenoproteins. One of it is glutathione peroxidase which is specific to the sperm nuclei, and the other is found in the mid-piece where it is believed to have an enzymatic and structural function. It is found that immobility in a sperm is frequently a result of “snaps” in the mid-piece region. The table below shows the result benefits in sperm quality where there was an increased paternity rate of 11% in the group given selenium supplement versus 0% in the group that was given a placebo.

•  Brain

Selenium plays an important role in the manufacture of a brain chemical known as a neurotransmitter and a low level of selenium is linked with an increased risk of dementia and senility. According to studies done, loss of brain function was found to be two folds faster in those above 65 with selenium deficiency in their diet. Other cognitive degeneration afflictions associated with Selenium deficiency include Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases. Studies done by University of Wroclaw, Poland have found that supplementing Alzheimer’s patients with selenium everyday slowed the progression of the disease.

•  Cataracts

Selenium may help to protect the eye against free radical damage, which is a root cause of cataracts.

•  Arthritis

In addition to being an antioxidant, selenium is also an anti-inflammatory agent. Selenium can help fight the free radicals that promote inflammation and degrade cartilage and collagen in joints. Surveys of patients with rheumatoid arthritis have indicated that they have reduced selenium levels in their blood.

•  Mood

Depression and irritability could be caused by selenium deficiency in our diet. Margaret Rayman of the Center for Nutrition and Food Safety at the University of Surrey, UK reported in The Lancet 2000 that there are a number of studies indicating beneficial effect of selenium on mood. Low selenium was associated with increased levels of depression, anxiety, confusion and hostility. While high dietary selenium or supplementation with selenium appears to improve mood.

•  Aging

Selenium as an antioxidant may slow down the aging process. Aging is a process of bodily wear and tear that occurs throughout a lifetime. One well-respected theory defines aging as the result of healthy cells being damaged by free radicals. Our body generates free radical quenchers (antioxidants) to stabilize the free radicals. However, if our bodies do not produce enough antioxidants to stanch free radical damage, the damage accumulates and fast forward the aging and disease.

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Recommended Selenium Intake
For males and females above the age of 19, the recommended dietary allowance is 70 micrograms and 55 micrograms respectively. The requirements may be increased to 65 micrograms for pregnant females and 75 micrograms for lactating females.
Recommended Selenium Intake


6 months

10 ug

6 to 12 months

15 ug



1 to 6 years

20 ug

7 to 10 years

30 ug

Adult Males


11 to 14 years

40 ug

15 to 18 years

50 ug

19+ years

70 ug

Adult Females


11 to 14 years

45 ug

15 to 18 years

50 ug

19+ years

55 ug

Pregnant Females
65 ug
Lactating Females
75 ug

*Source: Recommended Dietary Allowances, National Academy of Sciences.
(ug = micrograms)
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