From Phyllis:

The Black Walnut Beverage available through us at Back to Health, Narually has a most natural source of SELENIUM. We recomend that 100 I.U.'s of Vitamin E is to be taken for each ounce of the beverage that you drink. The Black Walnut is to be drank on an empty stomach. About
15 to 20 minutes afterward the Vitamin E is to be taken. A meal can be consumed about 15 to
20 minutes later if that is your choice. For more information about the Black Walnut beverage please feel free to contact me at my e-mail address or call the office at 412-486-2142. Tom Zeller or I will be most happy to speak to you about it.

SELENIUM: MINERAL WITH MUSCLE Health Sciences Institute e-Alert December 18, 2002

Dear Reader, Who knew selenium was such a hot topic? But I'm not surprised really.
This naturally occurring mineral with excellent antioxidant properties has been shown to activate a cancer- suppressing gene, fight autoimmune disorders and help increase insulin efficiency. In addition to all this, a colleague of mine reminded me that Jonathan Wright, M.D., speculates in his book, "Maximize your Potency and Vitality" that prostate cancer may be a nutritional disease caused by low selenium.

With credentials like these, it's no wonder that the recent e- Alert I sent you about selenium ("Most Valuable Mineral" 12/4/02) brought in several comments and inquiries from HSI members.
Two of them in particular stood out, with questions that opened up other topics, including vitamin efficiency, fat metabolization, and mercury poisoning.

In order to give these questions all the expert attention they deserve, I called on HSI Panelist Allan Spreen, M.D., and asked him to do the heavy lifting for me.

-------------------------------------------------------------- Giving E a boost
-------------------------------------------------------------- The first question comes from a member named Bill who knows about one of the most beneficial actions that selenium provides:

"Thanks for the information on selenium. I've taken it for years, but not for cancer prevention. Years ago I read it enhances the effectiveness of vitamin E. You said nothing about that in your article. Is that true or not? I wish you would comment on that someday."

Today is the day, Bill. Here's Dr. Spreen's answer:

"It does seem to be true that selenium enhances the effectiveness of vitamin E. The original connection between selenium and vitamin E was made in 1957, when it was first identified as a factor capable of preventing and curing symptoms of vitamin E deficiency in animals.
Subsequent observations showed that the two nutrients helped each other ('synergistic effect') in many cases, while the E did better for some situations and the selenium did better for others.
Both nutrients together are biochemically linked to preventing the unwanted peroxidation of polyunsaturated fats, so prominent in our diet since all the propaganda nowadays concerning saturated fats.

"Both selenium and vitamin E are also intimately associated with stimulation of the part of the immune system dealing with production of immunoglobulins. Antibody response in several animal studies was dependent on both selenium and vitamin E status. In addition, animal sensitivity to toxic heavy metals (mercury, lead, cadmium) was closely related to both substances. In fact, combined deficiencies in concert with heavy metals caused sudden death in animals associated with pathological changes of the heart.

"Affecting the immune system is why so many different illnesses are said to respond to correcting deficiencies of these two strengthen immunity and lots of problems go away."

-------------------------------------------------------------- A little built-in protection
-------------------------------------------------------------- An HSI member named E.C.S. has a question about dietary sources that contain mercury, which ends up being a selenium question in a roundabout way:

"Regarding foods and food products which might contain mercury; is it not a fact that deep sea fish sources such as swordfish and tuna contain the mineral element selenium? And that this mineral has been known to bind the mercury in the human system, thus not allowing it to be absorbed and pass harmlessly thru? I for one would like to know if my past sources of information in this area are truthful and accurate, or just plain fantasy."

And Dr. Spreen's answer:

"I always assumed that to be the case, which has been why I eat deep-sea fish without worrying. However, until you asked I never really actually checked (call me lazy).

"The highest single food source of selenium (by wa-a-a-y far) is Brazil nuts (something like 840 mcg per ounce!). Next on all the lists I checked showed seafood of some sort: Cod (cooked, dry heat, 3 oz)-
40 mcg; Tuna (canned, 4 ounces)- 80 mcg; Oysters (cooked, 4 ounces)-
80 mcg; Flounder or sole (cooked, 4 ounces)- 60 mcg. So, part one of the question (is the mineral in there?) seems to be answered with a resounding 'yes.' "Part two (does the nutrient bind mercury?) is pretty well established, or at least there are many studies out there showing that selenium is very important in detoxifying cases of heavy metal poisoning, to include lead, cadmium, and mercury. Whether it's actually due to chemical binding with the metal I don't know (or care, as long as it helps detoxify), but it certainly seems to help. In fact, it's well known that a combined deficiency of selenium and vitamin E in dogs with deliberate heavy metal toxicity are subject to sudden death, with associated findings of heart disease.

"So, there seem to be pretty decent indications that selenium is helpful in detoxifying mercury from seafood. The last question would then be, "Is it enough?" I can't answer that one at all, but we are getting something like 1000 times more mercury from polluted waters than our ancestors did in the 1600's (I'm told). If the levels are truly that high then I doubt the selenium is completely covering us.
But hey, you can't eat the meat from all the hormones and treated fields; you can't eat the veggies from all the pesticides and synthetic fertilizers; you can't eat the fruits for the same reason; you can't eat the eggs from all the salmonella and sick chickens, and you can't eat the grains from all the refining, bleaching, etc., etc., ad nauseum.

"I insure myself with nutrient supplements and keep my fingers crossed!"

-------------------------------------------------------------- Are you getting your selenium?
-------------------------------------------------------------- I have one additional side-note on the selenium topic. While doing some routine research earlier this week I came across an item from the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases with a discussion of dietary surveys.

A review of the surveys showed that patients with arthritis, as well as patients with rheumatoid arthritis, tended to have reduced selenium levels in their blood. These findings are considered preliminary, but it raises the speculation that the antioxidant effect of selenium helps relieve symptoms of arthritis.

Once again we see how the importance of selenium in our diets can't be overstated. In addition to the sources mentioned above, beef and poultry also contain fairly good amounts of selenium. If you're taking a multi-vitamin, there's a very good chance that selenium is on the list of nutrients. And if it's not, it may be time to add a supplement of selenium to your daily regimen.

As always, my thanks to Dr. Spreen for his assistance fielding your questions.

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...and another thing Looking over postings on the HSI Forum yesterday I came across a thread titled "Sacrificing Jenny." And as soon as I began reading I realized I had not made my position clear about an important issue on the smallpox vaccine question.

In this past Monday's e-Alert ("A Vaccine With Your Name On It"
12/16/02) I made this comment: "I agree that it's wise to sacrifice a few to protect many."

This comment angered a couple of HSI members - and one in particular, named Mike, took me to task, saying that my stance had offended him.
He interpreted my statement as meaning that I approve of forcing people to take vaccinations, even if it may kill some.

Without question, no one should be forced to receive any medical treatment they don't wish to take, and I would never approve of such a plan. My comments the other day, however, were regarding the impact of the vaccine on those who are at high risk of adverse (an possibly lethal) side effects, who would be in danger if they came in contact with others who had received the vaccine. If we knew we were facing an imminent bioterrorist attack with smallpox, wouldn't it make sense to allow millions of people to protect themselves with a vaccination, even when there is the certainty that a few who come into contact with them could die?

A member named Lance makes this point in a posting on the Forum, saying, "those 'first responders' who receive the initial vaccinations, shop at the same stores, eat at the same restaurants as the rest of the world. Military personnel routinely fly all over the world, including countries that have not been vaccinated!"

Given the fact that the smallpox vaccine contains such a dangerous and highly contagious living virus, it's easy to imagine the potential for disastrous results.

In a previous e-Alert on the smallpox vaccine ("Risky Business"
9/30/02), I addressed this situation, saying, "As horrific a decision as it is, IF WE KNEW FOR A FACT that a smallpox attack was imminent, I would say that we would have to sacrifice the lives of a few in order to save the lives of millions. It's almost on the level of "Sophie's Choice" - the heartbreaking reality that no matter what choice is made, the consequences are unbearable. The thing is - I'm not convinced that we've come to that point yet where the clear choice is to vaccinate one and all."

Almost three months after writing that statement, I still don't believe that we're at the point where it's worth risking lives to protect ourselves from an attack that we can't say for sure is even in the least bit imminent. Especially because those who are vaccinated can so easily transmit the live vaccinia virus to the many people who are at high risk of side effects.

When the vaccination is offered to the general public in 2004, more than a year from now, the world will be a different place. We can only hope that when that time comes, no nation on earth will be forced to take drastic or dire measures to defend its citizens from bioterrorism.

To Your Good Health, Jenny Thompson Health Sciences Institute

... make sure you'll always be able to!

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