- and that increases the need for selenium
Selenium is necessary for ensuring proper functioning of around 25 different enzymes – also known as selenoproteins – that are essential for energy turnover, metabolism, immune defense, fertility, and for antioxidant protection to help prevent cells and DNA from being damaged by oxidative stress. Selenium is also a so-called mercury antagonist that works by attaching itself to mercury, thereby preventing mercury’s harmful impact on the brain and nervous system. Once selenium has attached to mercury, however, it is no longer available to carry out all of its essential functions in the body. Because we are all exposed to mercury in some degree, this may cause a relative selenium deficiency that leaves our brain and nervous system particularly vulnerable to oxidative damage. In a new review article based on published research, Professor Nicholas V.C. Ralston and Dr. Laura J. Raymond explain why the toxic damage to the brain and nervous system is primarily a result of mercury’s inhibiting impact on the selenium metabolism. Selenium deficiencies are rather common, and mercury poisoning is an insidious problem, so the combination of these two problems deserves a lot more attention.