Selenium is a micronutrient that has few function in our body.
- One is to support the Thyroid conversion so that we make tyroxine for our metabolism to function well.
- It is part of the biggest detox protein compound which is called Glutathione Pyroxidase. This anti-oxidant, it is a powerful detoxifier of drugs, hormones and other toxins in our body. It is essential for our body to be healthy and our cells to be functioning well.
- The liver also makes protein which are called selenoprotein, which the above anti-oxidant is part of, they need selenium to be made.
Now the liver converts one form of selenium called selenomethionine to another form called selenide so that it can be used for the function in the body that is supposed to be used.
In somebody with a non-alcoholic or alcoholic fatty liver, this step of transformation does not happen as it gets blocked or it is limited.
Even with a big intake of selenomethionine or selenium in our food, this transformation still does not happen.
One research showed that taking the already transformed selenium such as selenate, there is an increase in Glutathione Peroxidase, which indicates that the body has a blocked selenium transformation pathway. This study (1) had people taking the normal form of selenium and the selenate form and by testing the people with fatty liver before and after, it was shown that with the selenate, people had a higher amount of Glutathione Peroxidase in their plasma that their placebo group.
This study (1) showed that in some people with fatty liver there might be a chance that they end up with a deficiency in selenium depended protein and therefore detox of harmful toxins in the body and cells, which could result in more problems in the body. As the toxins if not eliminated can stay within the body cells and cause more damage to the tissues, leading to possible painful joints and muscles. Selenium is also essential for the normal functioning of the Thyroid.
There are many nutrients that are needed in our diet to work well in our body and sometimes if something is not working well it is good to think of what else is blocking the health of the body.
It might be as simple as taking an available form of a nutrient and maybe addressing the health of the liver with supporting liver food or nutrients and changing the diet to a more appropriate one for you.
Brazil nuts are rich in selenium and 1 nut or two a day is enough for a normal liver.
- Burk F. R. et al. (2015). Selenium deficiency occurs in some patients with moderate-to-severe cirrhosis and can be corrected by administration of selenate but not selenomethionine: a randomized controlled trial1–3. Am J Clin Nutr. 02:1126–33.
Maria Esposito BSc (Hons) R-Nutritional Therapist – NAET – R-Craniosacral Therapist