In your search for better health, there's an often overlooked mineral that can greatly reduce joint pain and depression. And it can also prevent hypothyroidism.

Findings reported at the 83rd annual meeting of the Endocrine Society have pushed selenium into a much greater role in human health. German physician Barbara Gasnuer of Munich presented evidence that selenium may help slow the progression of autoimmue thyroiditis, a common inflammatory condition of the thyroid that often leads to permanent hypothyroidism.

Gasnuer's study looked at 72 women at an average age of 42, all of whom had autoimmune thyroiditis. Half the patients received selenium supplementation for three months; the other half received a placebo. Antibody levels returned completely to normal in nine members of the selenium group, as compared to just two in the control group. TPO (thyroid peroxidase) antibody levels decreased significantly in the selenium group. The patients having the greatest TPO level at the outset of the study experiencing the most improvement.

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Alan Smith, DO conducted a separate study on selenium supplementation and found significant improvements in muscle and joint problems, thyroid function, depression, and anxiety. Hair selenium (a common test for selenium levels) increased 20%, even though levels were acceptable to begin with.

Our understanding of how beneficial selenium is has grown significantly in recent years. Gross deficiency (as in areas of China) results in rapid premature aging. We may have a relative deficiency of selenium here thanks to our poor Western diet. Researchers have found subtle deficiencies are associated with atherosclerosis, various types of cancer, immune dysfunction, male infertility, and now with thyroid function and mental processes (possibly through thyroid, but perhaps directly on the brain).

I recommend you take 200 mcg per day. My personal favorite source is brewers yeast, which has highly bioavailable selenium and is more of a food than a supplement. Selenium as selenomethionine, 200 mcg, is an excellent supplemental source. If you're taking Healthy Resolve's Max Plus (call 800-728-2288 to order), you're getting 200 mcg daily, but feel free to add some brewers yeast to your diet.

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