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Mineral deficiency in food starts with the soil, and selenium is probably one of the fundamental minerals in which most people are deficient. About 9 out of 10 people are selenium deficient. This is something I see often as a naturopath.

One of the main minerals for thyroid function, a selenium deficiency can have a detrimental affect regarding cardiovascular disease, loss of oxidative stress (therefore cancer risk) and cardiomyopathy. In addition, selenium and vitamin A help with dandruff.

Food state supplements, such as Native Elements food state, provide an excellent source of minerals including selenium because they are essentially food and they provide a source of minerals that you normally wouldn’t get from food. Even if you tried it would take excessive amounts of certain foods to get the necessary amount of some minerals that have been depleted from the soil, including selenium.

“A lot of people go on about brazil nuts being good for selenium…absolutely true,” according to Professor Llewellyn. “Try to get them fresh, though, as there is a cartel in South America and they sell them about 10 months later (from fresh) when they forget to tell you that a lot of the fats have become rancid and per oxidized. You wouldn’t dare touch them. It’s in there, but it’s like drinking a glass of apple juice with fifteen vodkas or something, you don’t do it.”

Another good source of selenium, the mackerel, would be fine as well except for its position on the food chain. “Perfectly true, lovely oily fish, but mackerel is the one fish on the whole planet you shouldn’t touch because it is unique as a scavenger fish,” Llewellyn said. “The toxic mercury, cadmium and other stuff you find in mackerel you wouldn’t touch with a barge pole.”

Not all selenium food sources are bad, however. Garlic remains a good source for both selenium and sulphur.