How selenium in fish can make mercury harmless
Do you worry about eating fish because of heavy metal pollution? Then you may be interested in knowing that fish also contains selenium, a micronutrient that knows exactly how to deal with this culprit. Continue reading and find out more about this mechanism.
Fish it good for you. It contains vitamin D, iodine, and lots of other nutrients that are required for maintaining good health. Unfortunately, fish is also contaminated with heavy metals such as mercury, a potentially harmful neurotoxin that can cause damage to the brain. Luckily, one of the healthy nutrients in fish is a trace element called selenium, which has a feature that comes in very handy.
According to Dr. Nicholas Ralston, PhD, a biochemist and biologist working at the University of North Dakota, USA, selenium has a special binding affinity with mercury, which enables it to attach to mercury in a one-to-one ratio, so that the mercury molecules that would otherwise cause harm are virtually “hand-cuffed” and unable to react with the human organism.
Lecturing at a large, international selenium conference in Stockholm last month, Dr. Ralston said: “Mercury targets selenium and destroys important selenoproteins. It is therefore important to have adequate amounts of selenium in the body.”
Outweighs the harm
“In fact,” he specified, “the selenium content in our diet is eight times more important than the amount of mercury,” so getting enough selenium has high priority.
He also pointed out that the natural selenium content in many fish, including most types of tuna, is adequately high to outweigh the potential threat from the mercury content and claimed that there is generally no need to worry about consuming fish because of their mercury load. Still, one needs to realize that the selenium, which the binding process sequesters, is no longer available for useful purposes such as supporting the selenium-dependent selenoproteins in the body.
How much do we need?
Scientists generally agree that an adult human needs around 100-125 micrograms of selenium daily in order to saturate the many selenoproteins that need this nutrient to function properly. Selenoproteins are what ensure normal functioning of the immune system, thyroid gland, reproductive system, and protect cells against oxidative stress.
Eating a balanced diet with good selenium sources like fish, nuts, whole-grain, and meat is advisable. One may include a supplement like SelenoPrecise, which is an organic selenium yeast that can document that 88.7% of its selenium content gets absorbed by the body.