How Selenium Helps to Detoxify Mercury:
Selenium has emerged as one of the key compounds to help the body detoxify environmental chemicals. Today’s society is loaded with powerful toxins of all shapes and sizes. One of the most harmful & potentially lethal of these biological toxins is mercury. Mercury has a strong affinity for fatty tissue and loves to clog up the brain, liver, & kidneys. Science has now revealed that selenium is a powerful mercury detoxifying agents.
Many people have very high levels of mercury in their body. Mercury attaches and competes for cellular binding sites with other major trace minerals. When we are trace mineral deficient mercury is able to infiltrate and contaminate cells by shutting down their energy producing and anti-oxidant enzyme systems (1, 2).
Major Sources of Mercury:
The major sources of mercury come from dental amalgam fillings, processed foods, vaccines, fish, & industrial pollution. According to a large study published in the Journal of Environmental Health in 2009, mercury cell chloralkali chemicals are used to manufacture color additives such as FD&C Yellow 5, FD&C Yellow 6 and high fructose corn syrup (3).
Selenium is a trace mineral that incorporates itself into proteins to produce selenoprotein enzymes. These enzymes act as an anti-oxidant in the body to destroy free radicals and boost both the immune system and thyroid function (4). Mercury binds with selenium and reduces selenoprotein production. This deficiency hampers immune & thyroid function (5).
Selenium Binds Toxic Substances:
Selenium acts as a mercury magnet with a very strong binding affinity for the toxic substance. This strong attraction allows selenium to mix and neutralize their reaction characteristics. This new Hg – Se substance that is produced is not absorbed by the body and gets flushed out of the system.
It is critical that we maintain a surplus of selenium in our body to effectively neutralize mercury & produce the anti-oxidant enzymes that benefit us so much. We must consume less mercury and more selenium in order for this to happen. If we have increased mercury consumption (dental amalgams, vaccines, processed food consumption) than we will need increased selenium consumption up to 1000 mcg/daily.
Other Major Roles of Selenium:
Selenium increases the anti-oxidant capabilities throughout the entire body and improves blood flow, lowers inflammation and modulates immune function. It is one of the most important considerations in someone who is dealing with chronic inflammation and/or an auto-immune condition (8, 9).
Selenium is compared to a mechanic in that it attaches protective anti-oxidants such as glutathione on damaged areas of DNA. This process helps to reduce and repair damaged cell DNA. This is especially important for reducing cancer growth and improving the aging process (10, 11, 12).
Selenium is also very important for healthy fertility. This compound is incorporated in the sperm mitochondrial capsule and may affect the behavior and function of the sperm as they move through the vaginal canal. Optimal levels of selenium help to improve the sperm viability and reduce the risk of infertility (13, 14, 15).
Appropriate Selenium Consumption:
We should normally consume between 200-400 micrograms of selenium daily. Too much selenium is toxic; however, the average American consumes just 60 mcg daily (16, 17). This creates a long-term deficiency that leads to lowered immunity and increased risk of disease.
Fish Consumption and Selenium:
Fish consumption has been a source of controversy due to the elevating mercury levels from industrial pollution. However, fish is also a great source of selenium. The key is to use fish sources that are minimally processed and contain significantly more selenium than mercury.
Dr. Nicholas Ralston report to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows that (southern) flounder, tuna, and wild pacific salmon (including Chinook, Sockeye and Coho) have much more selenium than mercury. Meanwhile, pilot whale, tarpon and various types of shark were shown to be the most hazardous (18).
Best Food Sources of Selenium:
Brazil Nuts are by far the best source of selenium. Each brazil nut is said to contain between 50-75 mcg of selenium. Taking a small handful, about 4-6 will supply most of the selenium you will need in the course of a day.
Other good sources include organ meats, many forms of fish, pasture-raised eggs, mushrooms, shellfish, meat and seeds. Brazil nuts are by far and away the most rich food and that is why I recommend my clients take a small handful each day if possible.
Supplemental Forms of Selenium:
The most bioavailable form of selenium is in an amino acid form called selenomethionine, which is found naturally in yeast (19, 20) and in plants as they uptake sulfur compounds and link those to selenium. Many other forms of selenium only have half the absorption levels of L-selenomethionine.
All amino acids occur in two different three-dimensional forms: an “L” form and a “D” form, which are essentially mirror images of each other. The human body can only metabolize the L-amino acid form. So the ideal form to look for is L-selenomethionine.
One study showed that supplementation with 200 mcg of L-selenomethionine significantly reduced thyroid peroxidase anti-bodies and improved overall thyroid function in individuals suffering with Hashimoto’s thyroidits (21, 22)
Introducing Thyro-Liver Protect:
Thyro-Liver Protect™ contains the amino acid N-acetyl-L-cysteine, a key component of glutathione—a tripeptide that plays a significant role in detoxification and antioxidant support. This is key for anyone with high levels of mercury, lead, thalium or cadmium.
Thyro-Liver Protect also contains a combination of alpha-lipoic acid, silymarin from milk thistle, and selenium for support of antioxidant activity, regeneration of other antioxidants, and promotion of healthy immune function.
I use 2-4 caps (1-2 caps – 2x daily) of Thyro-Liver daily with my clients to help improve liver detoxification, thyroid hormone levels, mercury detoxification and cancer prevention.
10 Tips to Reduce Mercury Naturally:
1. Eat Real Foods: Minimize processed food consumption & eat real foods by following an anti-inflammatory nutrition plan here
2. Avoid Vaccines: Avoid vaccines & choose natural means to boost immunity
3. Say No to Dental Amalgams: Do not get dental amalgams put in and look to remove existing ones by finding a IAOMT mercury-free dentist
4. Consume Brazil Nuts: Brazil nuts are the greatest source of selenium. A handful (depending on soil quality) contains anywhere from 200 – 550 mcg. Eat 5-6 brazil nuts daily.
5. Choose Fish Wisely: Only eat wild-caught (never farmed) fish with very high selenium:mercury ratios found here
6. Use Cilantro, Parsley and Dandelion: Use cilantro (a heavy metal chelating agent) in your fish and other foods. Parsley and dandelion are also very supportive of the liver and kidneys and help the body to flush out wastes such as mercury.
7. SuperGreens & Chlorella: Use a high quality Supergreens powder with cracked-wall chlorella which is a powerful heavy metal chelating agent.
8. Use an InfraRed Sauna: One of the best ways to remove mercury and other heavy metals is through perspiring in an infrared sauna which has the ability to help move heavy metals from tissue cells into circulation and out through the sweat glands. Read more about infrared sauna usage here
9. Drink Hydrating Fluids: Be sure to drink at least half your body weight in ounces of clean, filtered water daily. Adding lemon/lime, various essential oils or apple cider vinegar to your water enhances the detoxifying effects.
10. Use a Detoxification Supplement Program: Following a specific supplement program on a periodic basis can help sweep out the toxins in your system. This is not a harsh colon cleanse that leaves you on the toilet all day, but instead it promotes a gentle and comfortable detoxification process that will not interfere with your daily life.
Within days most people notice they have improved energy, less pain, mental clarity, improved complexion and they sleep deeper. I have seen fantastic health results both personally and professionally using this system.