Mineral - Selenium


Selenium is a mineral that is likely one of the more important minerals of all minerals. Well, that is mostly right, but not totally right because all minerals are the utmost of importance when examined individually, but when all minerals are examined collectively, then Selenium rises to the status of one of the more important ones.  This is largely because of the controlling aspect of this mineral in so many of the processes and control at the very core levels. However, let us cover the necessary identifying technical points of Selenium then we can move on to discussing the fun stuff. 

Selenium is used 2,228,188 times in the genetic sequence. By comparison, some minerals are used many, many more times than this with fewer functions. But Selenium is used at key points, so it is just as important, and perhaps even more important because of the placements in the sequence.  It is associated with the Amino Acid, Arginine, carries a valance value of -2, and follows the CGC codon. It comes in at an astonishing light weight of  78.96 on the molecular scale and is known by the symbol of Se. 

One of the more practical functions of Selenium is to prevent 'Peroxidizing" in the body. In simple terms, this prevents the fats in the body from becoming rancid. Just this one aspect does so much for the body and allows for all kinds of possibilities, health-wise if the Selenium is present, or even not present. Perhaps we will examine this in more details in the Summary and Discussion section of this E-Lecture.  There are the typical Inorganic and Organic forms of Selenium and the Organic form is, of course, more easily taken up by the animal (also human), than the Inorganic form, even though the inorganic form will help and is much better than none at all, by far. When I say Inorganic, I am referring to the raw mineral form that has not been processed by a plant into a more usable version.  Selenium is found in many areas and is not found consistently in the soil type sources. Although it has been demonstrated to be lacking in massive areas, one can also find a Selenium soil in one location and go down the road a few miles and find a soil that is almost totally devoid of Selenium.  However, in the US, we find that the Atlantic coast, the Rustbelt, Large portions of Oregon and Washington State being almost devoid of Selenium on a widespread scale. While on a contrasting aspect, we find Selenium in the soil in mountainous areas of the US and even in some flat land areas as being either variable or moderately adequate for most plant and animal use.  Then in various areas of the variable or adequate Selenium soil maps, we find local areas of having high levels of Selenium accumulator plant growth. This Accumulator Plant Growth concept is defined as a location where plants that typically grow in an area where Selenium levels are at least adequate to high. Certain plants require high levels of Selenium and that is why they tend to grow only in those areas.   

An interesting note with this accumulator plant aspect is that in an area where I grew up in was extremely rich in Selenium. How we know this is because of the type of plants that grew there in their natural state. One indicator plant is a plant called Loco Weed. There are several varieties of this plant, so I am going to avoid naming one or even a few with their Latin names, out of respect of the length of boring names that would need to be listed. However, the two main varieties of this plant found in North America are the Oxytropis and Astragalus types. I have seen the toxic effect of this on both domesticated and wild animals. In the early spring when we first turned the range cows out on the lower foothill areas, almost every year a few of the cows would find a few of these plants and eat them. They are a very beautiful plant, a pretty flower and with green foliage. Cows are attracted to them. The flower is the part that contains the chemical Swainsonine.  It is a phytotoxin, an N-linked Glycan inhibitor, and an immunomodulator, in some cases.  It also causes neurological issues in most species of mammals.  To illustrate, I have seen cows basically act like they are like most humans strung out on meth. I have seen those cows out run at least 3 fresh horses, in series, and stand there as if asking for more. However, once the effect wears off, the cows are never the same. They fail to thrive, never breed back up, and generally act like a caged wild animal. Then in deer, which when I first observed it in that species, (which wigged me out and gave me the willies), they displayed behavior similar to "Spong Brain", or "Chronic Wasting Disease".  They essentially walked in circles, in a stupor with their head held low. I don't know how long they lived, as I went on my merry way and when traveling on horseback through those areas, I have found their carcasses in the same general area where I had observed them. So with this, we can see that there is perhaps a close connection to not only this chemical but to Selenium itself. 

Selenium is like most minerals in that a lack of and a toxicity, as in an overdose of the mineral will produce similar results. Although the overdose is highly unlikely unless done on purpose or by ingesting plants, such as the Locoweed. It is uncommon to see toxicity to this mineral.  Now when it comes to a deficiency of this mineral, we see it all over everywhere and among all species of mammals, and other animal life as well as plant life.  In the area where I grew up in, there was a high level of selenium in the soil, and I left there at the end of my teenage years. So when I showed up where I presently live, I was in for a massive learning curve. Why? This area is classified as almost no to very low Selenium content soil. The learning curve was going from an area that the only concern related to Selenium being a toxicity level, and then only on a rare occasion. Then learning to work with animals in an area of Selenium deficiencies. Now when you get in that situation, you see all of the typical deficiencies related to Selenium in mammals. That list is long but some notable ones are lack of thriving, failure to breed, spontaneous abortions, and most notable, White Muscle Disease in young animals, and most acutely in newborn lambs and kids (goats). 

Across all species we see low Selenium levels contributing to the lack of utilization of Oxygen, so all sorts of lack of oxygen type issues.  We see a wide range of Kidney issues, Heart issues, Candida issues, Fibromyalgia and even MS. We even see a number of cancers that seem to have a direct connection to a lack of Selenium at the core of the issue. This mineral also plays a role in regulating Hormones related to female issues and a wide range of mental health issues. But let's not pick on females here, it also contributes very heavy to male related activities, such as;  male performance and reproduction. Of note, close to half of the stored Selenium in the male's body is found in the testicles and seminal ducts around the prostate gland.  Males seem to have a greater need for Selenium than do Females. Then when it comes to both genders, they both need it for tissue elasticity and to keep cells more "youthful". Selenium has also been shown to help eliminate toxins from the body and to break the recycling of toxins by almost forcing them into the elimination process of the body by breaking the Liver to Gallbladder to Blood to Liver and on and on cycle.  I like to think the one cool thing about Selenium is that it breaks the defective or broken DNA strand'ss bonds to the cell so that the repaired new DNA strand can be placed in where it is supposed to be., thus eliminating the replication of defective or broken DNA material.  Selenium also plays a major role in the development of hair and nails.  We could go on and on, but I think you get the point. It plays a role in just about every functioning process of the body. But before we move on, we need to mention about HIV and AIDS. Selenium plays a major role in this area as well. It appears from numerous observational studies is that HIV can easily develop into a full-blown case of AIDS when a Selenium deficiency is present. When HIV patients supplement with large levels of Selenium, they tend to not develop the HIV into AIDS.  HIV tends to require a large amount of Selenium to function. So the idea is to supply the HIV with massive levels of Selenium, as it can be controlled better than AIDS, and thus not develop AIDS.  When you have an HIV patient with a Selenium Deficiency, the HIV competes with other body activities and the patient then develops a race between dying from some other mineral deficiency or from AIDS.  So perhaps in some weird roundabout way, if you have plenty of Selenium it almost acts like a vaccine against AIDS. At least if you think of it in that light, it gives some perspective to the prevention of at least that virus. Perhaps it can contribute to a natural immunity against other viruses. It would be an interesting concept, at least in theory. Would be nice to see if it would prove out. 

From an industrial application of Selenium, we see it being used in glass making and pigments as well as a semiconductor in photocells. We also see Selenium being used to control electricity in surge protectors. So we have all sorts of applications as it relates to electricity, we see the mineral as being directly related to and involved in this whole electricity aspect. The key phrase here; Electrical Conductivity. 

Essential OIls and Selenium Connection. 
When it comes to plants that contain high levels of Selenium, we find this to be all over the board. I hesitate to name a specific plant or plants, because it really depends on the areas where the plant is grown, as to whether or not it contains Selenium or not. But what I do find in interesting is the direct connection of the various Herbs that tend to contain high levels of Selenium appear to have a direct connection to herbs indicated for the various issues that Selenium directly addresses. However, many of you have heard me refer to Thyme being a man oil. It is not a man oil in the sense of it is tough, stinky, or whatever like most men, whatever that might be, but rather an oil that finds men responding extremely effective to it.  If you want to help a man with his issues, particularly any "man issue", you will find that he indicates very favorably to Thyme Essential Oil. Most Thyme oil will work, but the Thyme-Thymol works even more effectively. You will find some, and I say some, Oregano oils with higher levels of Thymol will also work very good for men. An oil of Thyme, the Linalool type is generally used on children.  You know what? When you compare the issues with children when Selenium is indicated, you will find a direct correlation to Thyme linalool also being indicated.  Then we move along with some other notable oils that tend to contain consistent levels of Selenium, I think mainly because of where they are grown, is Catnip, Juniper Berry. Pinion Pine, Rabbit Brush, The Chamomile oils, Garlic, Ginger, Lavender, Peppermint (some, depends on the area where grown), and Fennel.  So you can see that we have a wide range of plants that are used to source essential oils as oils that will tend to contain Selenium. So when it comes to using essential oils that have a direct connection or effect of Selenium, you can see the patterns and specifically which oils would more than likely contain Selenium than not. 

Summary and Discussion. 
One of the areas that Selenium helps people is with Dandruff issues. Many anti-dandruff shampoos contain a specific solution of Selenium called selenium sulfide. This helps to kill the Malassezia fungus, which causes the flaking of the skin known as Dandruff. Also, this same solution is used to treat a skin infection, as used in lotions, caused by a different species of this same fungus. One of the main sources of Selenium toxicity is sourced from agricultural runoff from land that has not ever been farmed. So in this day and age, pretty slim chance of that happening. But where it does, or we should say, did happen, it then flows to a dead end holding area, then as the water evaporates, the Selenium concentration levels rise, then under those conditions, the possibility of Selenium poisoning then becomes likely to happen. As a note, that is a source of obtaining Selenium for commercial use. Yet over on the deficiency side, we see the issue being diagnosed in measuring the selenoenzyme activity in the brain and endocrine system.  If the level is at a certain level or below, then the person is considered to have a Selenium deficiency. So see, we have the Selenium-Brain- Endrocine systems directly needing Selenium to function.  When you get the Brain and Endrocine system not functioning, you have a myriad of mental health issues and really a complete break down of the body system as a whole. When you are viewing the Selenium deficiency aspect, many times the lack of Selenium is not really the problem.  As a general rule, the brain seems to be the system of the highest priority when it comes to partitioning out nutritional needs, ie; its needs are the first to be considered. So as a result of this, since Selenium works with and is associated with Iodine and Vitamin E, Selenium deficiencies are often confused with Iodine and Vitamin E deficiencies, as well as the other way around. This is nothing new as many deficiencies are often misdiagnosed and the real issue is missed many times. 

Among other aspects of Selenium, we see it being necessary for the Glutathione Peroxidase (GSH-PX), an enzyme to function. The role of this enzyme is to prevent oxidation of cells, which results in the injury of cells. While at the same time Selenium also forms natural killer cells which kills bacteria as it enters the body. Another form of this killer cell thing is that Selenium encourages cancer cells to undergo a process of Apoptosis. This is defined as programmed cell death when genetic damage is detected. Selenium also helps to detoxify some cancer-causing substances as well as inhibiting prostaglandins, which causes inflammatory reactions in the body.  In a number of studies, it was shown that by taking a daily and consistent intake of about 200 mg., of Selenium per day was associated with a decreased level of lung and colorectal cancers.  As a side note, Selenium appears to run in a pack of friends, those friends are vanadium, magnesium, copper, and zinc.  So when one of these is messed up, then they all tend to be in a state of flux, including Selenium.  

So to review, Selenium has a direct relationship to many activities, but more of a control than a heavy lifter. It tends to control many functions and activities. Heavily involved in Brain activity and Hormone activity. The sources of Selenium is somewhat erratic and is not consistent in all foods and soils. Both forms, Organic and Inorganic sources of Selenium are useful, but the organic source will be used more efficiently and effectively in the body than the inorganic will be. But you would not be wise to turn down the inorganic form if offered to you. Bottom line with Selenium... got to have it, without question. Without it, you do not function, ie; lights out, curtain down. Fino!

Kent King