vitamins deficiency symptoms

Selenium food sources and supplements

Wheat.

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Selenium occurs in staple foods such as corn, wheat, and soybean as selenomethionine, the organic selenium analogue of the amino acid methionine.

Selenomethionine can be incorporated into body proteins in place of methionine, and serves as a vehicle for selenium storage in organs and tissues. Selenium supplements may also contain sodium selenite and sodium selenate, two inorganic forms of selenium. Selenomethionine is generally considered to be the best absorbed and utilized form of selenium.

Selenium is also available in ‘high selenium yeasts’, which may contain as much as 1,000 to 2,000 micrograms of selenium per gram. Most of the selenium in these yeasts is in the form of selenomethionine. This form of selenium was used in the large scale cancer prevention trial in 1983, which demonstrated that taking a daily supplement containing 200 micrograms of selenium per day could lower the risk of developing prostate, lung, and colorectal cancer.

However, some yeast may contain inorganic forms of selenium, which are not utilized as well as selenomethionine.

A study conducted in 1995 suggested that the organic forms of selenium increased blood selenium concentration to a greater extent than inorganic forms. However, it did not significantly improve the activity of the selenium-dependent enzyme, glutathione peroxidase.

Researchers are continuing to examine the effects of different chemical forms of selenium, but the organic form currently appears to be the best choice.

SELENIUM SUPPLEMENT

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