It is an indisputable fact that people who regularly take selenium supplements are less prone to illness. It is because selenium is an essential trace element and is the only nutrient known to be directly related to viral infections among various nutrients with immunomodulatory functions. In addition, selenium can also enhance the body’s immune system regulation ability, to a certain extent to prevent viral mutations, reduce the incidence of a variety of viral infectious diseases, therefore, selenium is known as the regulation of the body’s immunity “can help”.
The immune system is the best “doctor” of the body
Immunity is the ability of the body’s immune system to fight against invading germs or malignant cellular pathogens and keep the body healthy. In short, immunity is the body’s ability to fight disease. According to data from German research centers, there are nearly 10,000 substances secreted in the human body to treat diseases, 80% of which are secreted by the immune system.
The immune function of the human body is performed by a large immune system consisting of various immune cells present in the blood, antibodies and cytokines secreted by these cells, and immune organs such as the spleen, lymph nodes, thymus, and bone marrow.
The human immune system has three major functions: defense function, self-stabilization function, and surveillance function.
Defensive function: blocking and removing disease-causing germs and viruses.
Self-stabilization function: metabolic action, removal of aging and damaged cells, and maintenance of body homeostasis.
Surveillance function: timely identification and removal of mutated cells to prevent tumors.
Through these three functions, the body can defend itself against tumors internally, remove aging and necrotic cell tissues, and fight against viruses, bacteria and other microbial infections externally. It can be said that the immune system is the best “doctor” of our body.
Modern medical science found that the human immune system begins to decline at the age of about 30 years old, manifested in the reduction of defense function and self-stabilization; as age increases, the surveillance function also gradually decreases; in old age, the number of immune cells in the body is significantly reduced, the body’s ability to remove some mutant cells decreases, making the latter easy to cancer cells, increasing the chances of cancer.
Selenium is the “competent person” to regulate the immunity of the body
Selenium is found in the highest levels in human lymph nodes, liver and spleen, which are also the concentration of immune cells. Experts have found that selenium is present in almost all immune cells in the body and has a role in protecting the thymus, maintaining lymphocyte activity and promoting antibody formation. Supplementation with the right amount of selenium can help improve the body’s immunity against diseases such as colds, cardiovascular diseases, gastrointestinal diseases, liver diseases and cancer.
Selenium can help improve the immunity of the body, mainly by affecting humoral immunity, cellular immunity and non-specific immunity.
1. Selenium and humoral immunity
The production of antibodies is the key to humoral immunity. Selenium can stimulate the formation of immunoglobulins, i.e. improve the body’s ability to synthesize antibodies such as lgM and lgG. Clinical research shows that in the determination of immunoglobulins in Keshan disease area and large bone disease area, the immunoglobulin content of lgM and lgG of these immunoglobulins in the disease area population is lower than that in non-disease area, and the immunoglobulin content in the body increases significantly after supplementing with appropriate amount of selenium.
2. Selenium and cellular immunity
Tumors arise from cellular mutations, which can be detected and destroyed by the body’s immune system before the mutated cells become cancer cells, and cellular immunity plays an important role in immune surveillance of tumor cells. It is found that selenium supplementation can affect the proliferation and differentiation of lymphocytes, promote lymphocytes to secrete lymphokines (a kind of substance to strengthen the immune effect) and enhance the cytotoxic function of lymphocytes, so as to play the cellular immune function and help enhance the body’s cancer suppression ability.
3. Selenium and non-specific immunity
Non-specific immunity is a natural defense mechanism of human body, which is mainly manifested by phagocytosis and killing of pathogens by macrophages and neutrophils. Animal experiments have confirmed that selenium deficiency significantly inhibits the microbial killing activity of macrophages, while selenium supplementation significantly enhances the phagocytic activity of macrophages.
It was further found that selenium affects macrophage bactericidal activity in relation to glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px). Selenium is an important component of GSH-Px, and selenium supplementation enhances the activity of GSH-Px and decomposes intracellular peroxides, thus achieving a protective effect on macrophages.
Selenium has a preventive and curative effect on viral infectious diseases
Retroviruses contain UGA codons that encode selenium proteins during viral replication. The increased demand for selenium leads to selenium deficiency and the production of toxic oxygen radicals in host cells, which subsequently leads to oxidative damage to the viral genome and induces mutations that increase viral pathogenicity. Numerous clinical sampling studies have shown that moderate selenium supplementation may help reduce the incidence of certain viral infections, such as Ebola virus (Ebola), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and mammary tumor virus (MMTV).
Researchers at West Virginia University School of Medicine recommend that normal people need a daily supplement of 200 micrograms of selenium to help boost the body’s immune system to fight viral infectious diseases and maintain a strong body.