Selenium is one of the most relevant minerals having a positive impact on the general health and well-being of people today. Although selenium is recommended only in trace amounts, it is a substance that helps the production of important proteins that prevents cellular damage and free radicals. Selenium is a well known anti-cancer mineral since it also stops the production of the anti-oxidants that feeds on cancer cells. Selenium is also a critical mineral in preventing heart disease.
The main sources of selenium are found in agricultural produce. However, the quantity of selenium in vegetables and other produce depends on the selenium content of the soil where the plant was produced. Selenium is also found in meat, seafood, grains, and nuts. Therefore, selenium dietary deficiency is not a usual problem as it can be readily taken from any food. However, cases of selenium deficiency are reported on areas where there is low selenium content in soils.
Selenium deficiency is relatively rare for well-nourished individuals. However, developing countries experience cases of selenium deficiency due to the nature of their soils and malnutrition. For a normally nourished individual, selenium deficiency can occur due to intestinal problems that prevent the absorption of selenium in the body. Doctors usually cannot readily assess a selenium deficiency until certain nutrition deficiency tests are conducted. Analysis of the vitamin and mineral levels of a patient is done to measure the gap of his selenium deficiency.
Selenium deficiency can lead to a serious condition called Keshan Disease. Since selenium helps facilitate the circulatory system, the lack of it can result to enlarged heart and poor heart functions. Keshan disease is a potentially fatal disease although it can be triggered by the presence of a virus. Kashin-Beck disease can result to atrophy and degeneration of tissue. Other direct results of selenium deficiency include hypothyroidism or lack of thyroid hormones, extreme fatigue, mental slowing, recurrent miscarriage, and goiter. With the effects of selenium deficiency, people have become more conscious in considering selenium in their diets. Selenium deficiency testing is used to confirm whether physical conditions are due to poor selenium nutrition.
Secondary selenium deficiency is a result of other physical factors that prohibit the absorption of selenium in the body. Gastro-intestinal disorders are the most common culprit of secondary selenium deficiency. People with nutritional absorption disorders are usually required to undergo a battery of nutrition deficiency tests including selenium deficiency testing.
In order to treat selenium deficiency, oral selenium capsules are taken as a dietary supplement. Selenium supplements are advertised as substances that fight cancers such as lung cancer, prostate cancer, and skin cancer, and colorectal cancer. Selenium helps slow down tumor growth while preventing the transfer of free radicals in the body.
A healthy person usually checks out cleanly in selenium deficiency tests. However, selenium deficiency is a condition that can turn serious before symptoms show. Selenium deficiency tests not only monitor the health and wellness of the individual, but it also serves an early disease detection tool.