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Trace Element- Selenium: why is it important during times of stress?

brazil nuts contain the trace element Selenium

As many of us are sheltering at home and have more time on our hands then we desire, let us learn more about ourselves and how to help our body deal with the stress. In an earlier blog, we have discussed the importance of magnesium which is a big player in helping us and our bodies relax. Magnesium deficiency can cause leg cramps, constipation and exacerbate hypertension and migraines. Many people could benefit from an additional 400 to 600 mg daily as part their stress busting regimen.

Now let’s move on to another key mineral – Selenium which is a trace element.  Trace does not mean that it is unimportant, rather a little bit goes a long way. The sweet spot for selenium is somewhere between 200 and 300 µg micrograms, which is 1000th of a gram. This is about 3 to 5 Brazil nuts daily. Selenium is unique among the trace minerals and deficiencies can be associated with cancers and viral infections. This is strongly illustrated by Keshan’s disease. Keshan’s disease was an endemic viral heart disease which resulted in thousands of deaths annually for decades in China. It was not until the 1980s that low selenium was identified as the culprit.  With this knowledge, they were able to eradicate the disease via selenium supplementation and by adding selenium to the soil.

Why is selenium so key to our defense against viruses? First of all, low selenium impairs the effectiveness of a person’s immune system and secondly in a low selenium environment the relatively mild virus evolves to become a killer.  Does this sound familiar?

We all must wait for this to pass, but please avoid spending your time basking in fear and anxiety, for example, watching the news. What should you do instead? Go Nuts! Eat your Brazil nuts, of course not the whole bag, about 5 brazil nuts would be the ideal amount, get outside and get some vitamin D and enjoy the music of springtime.  Focus your energy in supporting your body and mind, so that you can become not just a survivor, but a thriver. If you want to push the limits go for a walk with your friend, just make them walk on the other side of the street!


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