Selenium is a trace element found in soil. Our bodies need small amounts of selenium every day in order to stay healthy. Numerous body processes require selenium and its presence has been confirmed in almost every cell. It is vital for our immune system since it boosts our body to fight infections and cancer cells. The function of selenium is that it is one very powerful antioxidant. This means its fights against free radicals which are the culprits of cell and DNA damage. Together with vitamin C and E its antioxidant power increases hence this combination is used additionally to basic treatment of cancers, heart diseases etc. It can also help slowing the process of aging. Smoke, alcohol or fats can be neutralized with it. Selenium increases male potency and nourishes hair, skin and nails.
Selenium is present in many foods such as Brazil nuts, seafood and meat. Oats and rise are quite rich in it. This mainly depends on the richness of soil where these grains have been grown. Besides taking the selenium with food people can use selenium supplements. Recommended daily intake is 70mcg for men and 55 mcg for women. Maximum allowed intake is 600mcg. Selenium deficiency is rare if almost possible since one can get enough if eating properly. On the other hand taking too much selenium (exceeding the recommended daily intake) may lead to oxidation followed by depression, nausea and vomiting. One can lose hair or nails. So it is better to stick to limit of 600mcg a day.
Today when many people fight cancer selenium plays huge role. A five year study carried out by Cornell University, Arizona has shown that daily intake of 200mcg of selenium per day decreased the incidence of prostate tumors for 63%, colorectal malignancies for 58%, lung cancers for 46% and the 39% reduction in overall cancer deaths. Other studies have also proved huge potentials of selenium in prevention of cervical, rectal, ovarian cancer and some others like cancer of bladder, esophagus, pancreas and liver.
Beside malignant diseases selenium is proved to be healthy for heart by reducing the possibility of clotting hence decreasing the chance of heart attack and stroke. Levels of "good" cholesterol (HDL cholesterol) are increased and levels of bad cholesterol (LDL cholesterol) are decreased when selenium is used. It is therefore good for all the people with cardiovascular diseases to take more selenium in order to prevent aggravation of the basic condition. As for other diseases it is helpful in prevention of cataracts and muscular degeneration.