What is selenium deficiency and how does it affect health?
DISCLAIMER: CONSULT WITH A DOCTOR BEFORE DECIDING ON A TREATMENT PLAN FOR ANY DISEASE OR INJURY.
Selenium is an incredibly important mineral for human health, but unfortunately, selenium deficiency is often overlooked due to the mineral’s status as a trace mineral (one that’s not needed in larger quantities to maintain health). But minerals, even in tiny quantities, have a significant effect on our health, and selenium is by no means an exception. Joel D. Wallach, the author of “Rare Earths, Forbidden Cures” and other books about minerals (including numerous trace minerals) and orthomolecular medicine, was one of the first scientists to discover cystic fibrosis in monkeys. He also was the first to link selenium deficiency to the development of cystic fibrosis, and then to develop a cure for cystic fibrosis in humans using orthomolecular medicine.
Selenium is also essential for thyroid health since without it, individuals specifically who have thyroid disease will be unable to utilize any supplemental iodine that they take. Therefore, people with thyroid disease MUST take selenium as well in order to be able to cure their disease. As we’ve already seen, the thyroid and the gallbladder share an intimate connection, so this fact alone is worth noting when it comes to a discussion of selenium deficiency and gallbladder deficiency in particular.
Selenium therapy has also been used as an effective cancer treatment.
But besides these more controversial and hidden uses of selenium in a therapeutic context, there are also more classic signs of a selenium deficiency that are helpful to know about to be able to understand selenium and how it works in the body a bit better. Here are the classic symptoms of a selenium deficiency:
- Heavy metal poisoning
- Cognitive decline
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Hostile or irritable behavior
- Hair loss and/or weak, brittle nails
- Thyroid dysfunction and disease
- Infertility in men and women
- Reproductive issues
- Muscle weakness
- Weakened immunity
- Brain fog
- And more…
Other diseases and disorders associated with selenium deficiency include Keshan disease, cardiovascular disease, asthma, HIV/AIDS, rheumatoid arthritis, Kashin-Beck disease, liver cirrhosis, and kidney disease.
Risk Factors for Selenium Deficiency
The risk of selenium deficiency may be increased in certain situations. Risk factors for selenium deficiency include:
- Gold salts use – These can lower selenium levels.
- Alcohol use
- Being on birth control medication
- Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, candidiasis, and other diseases that impair the absorption of nutrients
- Low selenium content in local food growing soils
- Poor diet (this means a diet consisting of “junk foods”, but also note that veganism and strict vegetarianism may also increase the risk of selenium deficiency)
- Vitamin E deficiency
- Undergoing kidney dialysis
Selenium and the Gallbladder
Selenium plays an indirect role in gallbladder health through its healing effects on the thyroid, particularly when taken in combination with Lugol’s iodine solution. Thyroid and gallbladder health are related, so the health of the thyroid in this case will improve overall gallbladder health and is likely to somehow affect almost all gallbladder complaints. Nevertheless, there are some specific situations where selenium benefits gallbladder health directly.
Selenium Therapy for Gallbladder Polyps
Gallbladder polyps often develop in response to chronic gallbladder inflammation (cholecystitis). They are significantly more common than gallbladder cancer with approximately 5% of adults having at least 1 gallbladder polyp of some kind. Though they’re benign and non-cancerous 95% of the time, gallbladder polyps can still become cancerous in the future, and besides this, they may block the bile ducts or be symptomatic of a more serious gallbladder-related issue. Thus, even though gallbladder polyps are usually non-cancerous, it’s still important to treat them whenever possible.
Keep in mind that polyps ARE tumors, and therefore can also be treated using other cancer medicines. In addition to selenium, make sure to take vitamin B17, Lugol’s iodine solution, and pancreatic enzymes to treat gallbladder polyps. Better yet, do Enzyme Therapy with ox bile and pepsin supplements if you have gallbladder polyps to ensure proper digestion of food and adequate support for liver and gallbladder.
There are 3 kinds of gallbladder polyps:
- Pseudopolyps – These are cholesterol-filled sacs that develop on the walls of the gallbladder. Chronic inflammation and higher levels of cholesterol in the bile are contributing factors to the development of this type of polyp. Selenium may help heal this type of polyp by reducing inflammation (it may also help reduce cholesterol levels, but the studies that exist on selenium’s effects on cholesterol are highly contradictory).
- Inflammatory polyps – These polyps are what they sound like: areas of inflammation on the walls of the gallbladder. Since selenium is an anti-inflammatory, it can be a useful treatment for inflammatory polyps by helping to reduce excess inflammation of the gallbladder walls. Additionally, selenium’s chelating, immune-boosting abilities can help neutralize and remove toxins or heavy metals that may ultimately be the actual cause of this inflammation.
- True gallbladder polyps – These are benign tumors that can become cancerous in some cases. They can be treated in more or less the same way as gallbladder cancer.
Selenium Therapy for Gallbladder Cancer
Selenium supplementation has been scientifically proven to inhibit cancer growth in numerous studies, though unfortunately, these studies have been hidden. Some studies have also shown that selenium may be able to reverse cancer growth. Regardless of where the cancer is in a person’s body, selenium supplementation is likely to inhibit further cancer growth if not even reverse the cancer entirely, especially if it’s taken with other medicines as part of a cancer treatment protocol.
Gallbladder cancer is rare, but can cause serious health issues and may metastasize to other organs like the liver and intestines. Conventional medicine is likely to recommend gallbladder surgery, however, from our research, surgery in this case may actually produce more ill effects than positive, especially considering that the root cause of the cancer isn’t resolved by removing the gallbladder (meaning that it’s entirely probable that the person who has their gallbladder removed will have to deal with a cancer diagnosis later on anyways). Besides cancer-related problems, having one’s gallbladder removed can also cause other health problems later on down the line.
Consider the following core supplementation protocol for the treatment of gallbladder cancer (you can add other treatments to this core protocol, of course, but these are some of the “essentials” for any gallbladder cancer treatment protocol) :
- Selenium – 200mcg/day
- Vitamin E – 400IU (180mg)/day
- Vitamin K2+D3 – Do not exceed 125mg/5000IU of vitamin D3 per day; otherwise, follow the dosing instructions on the bottle
- Lugol’s iodine – 20 drops of 2% solution per day OR one 50mg tablet of Iodoral per day
- Vitamin B17/Apricot Kernels/Amygdalin – 1000mg of vitamin B17/amygdalin OR 4-5 bitter apricot kernels eaten 4-5 times per day, separately from any other food or medicines (take a total of 16-25 per day, do not take them all in one sitting)
- Pancreatic enzymes – Take the recommended amount with every meal and snack
- Ox bile – Take 125-500mg with every meal and snack
How to Take Selenium Therapeutically for Gallbladder Health
NOTE: Selenium is an antioxidant, and therefore it should not be combined in high doses with MMS/CDS treatment or any other oxidant medicine. If you’re taking supplemental iodine and selenium in addition to CDS/MMS or another oxidant medicine to treat thyroid disease (as an example), this is fine, but make sure to wait AT LEAST 1 hour after taking iodine and selenium before starting your oxidant medicine protocol for the day.
When administered therapeutically, selenium is often given at a dose of 200mcg per day for an adult (including women who are pregnant or nursing). Do not exceed a daily dose of 400mcg of selenium per day (since this is a trace element, you SHOULD NOT take too much, since this may cause toxicity effects). Regardless of what disease or health problem you’re treating, this is the generally accepted consensus in regard to the amount of selenium to take per day in supplement form.
Selenium may be available as a supplement in one of two forms: selenomethionine and selenocysteine. Selenocysteine is the converted, usable form that the body can actually utilize, but selenomethionine can still be converted to selenocysteine. Either one of these forms is fine to take, the important thing is to obtain organic selenium supplements since these are more bioavailable than inorganic forms.
If you receive sodium selenite infusions (which may be available at some boutique health clinics), you will receive 4000mcg (4g) of selenium on the first day, and then 1000mcg (1g) daily from days 2-9 of treatment.
Also take a vitamin E supplement (consisting of d-alpha-tocopherol, the natural form) and Lugol’s iodine or Iodoral (both a combination of molecular iodine and potassium iodide) with your selenium supplement to support this mineral’s ability to function well in your body.
Selenium is a safe supplement to take in the vast majority of cases, especially as long as you don’t go beyond the indicated dosing guidelines. However, individuals who are taking certain medications may need to check with a medical professional before taking selenium since selenium supplements may interact with these medications. Medications that may interact with selenium include:
- Blood thinners (such as Clopidogrel/Plavix, Coumadin/Warfarin, Heparin, etc.; Selenium supplementation may increase the risk of bleeding in people on blood thinners)
- Barbiturates (Butabarbital/Butisol, Mephobarbital/Mebaral, Phenobarbital/Nembutal, etc.; These medications’ sedative effects may be strengthened by selenium supplementation)
- Chemotherapy drugs
- Cholesterol lowering drugs (like Simvastatin/Zocor, Atorvostatin/Lipitor, etc.; Selenium supplementation may decrease the efficacy of these drugs)
Dietary Sources of Selenium
While a selenium supplement is very important if you’re trying to use selenium therapeutically, knowing which foods are rich in selenium is helpful if you’re not able to get a supplement or if you simply want to increase your overall intake of selenium without taking too much supplemental selenium. Having an awareness of dietary sources of different nutrients is helpful anyways when you’re considering which foods to incorporate into your diet in order to ensure that you’re actually getting all the various nutrients you need to be healthy.
Some of the foods rich in selenium include:
- Brazil nuts (NOTE: Don’t eat a crazy amount of these, you could actually end up taking in TOO MUCH selenium if you eat too many Brazil nuts in one sitting)
- Sunflower seeds, chia seeds, and some other seeds
- Fish (including cod and tuna, among others)
- Liver meat
- Barley and other whole grains
- Other meats
- Brewer’s yeast
Keep in mind that selenium levels in food vary depending on the selenium content of the soil in which they were grown. In addition, processing or refining any of the above foods dramatically reduces (if not completely eliminates) any selenium content present in the food.
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 Sircus, M. (2014). Treatment Essentials: Practicing Natural Allopathic Medicine: Kindle Edition. IMVA Publications.
 Pharma Nord (n.d.). What Is SelenoPrecise? Retrieved May 29, 2018 from: https://www.pharmanord.com/us-products/selenoprecise
 Kanthan, Rani, et. al. (2015). Gallbladder Cancer in the 21st Century. Retrieved June 30, 2022 from: https://www.hindawi.com/journals/jo/2015/967472/
 Caporuscio, Jessica (2021). What to know about gallbladder polyps. Retrieved June 30, 2022 from: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/326818#pictures