At this time of year, a lot of my patients ask me how they can lose weight.
Especially in sunny locales with beautiful beaches like we have here in South Florida. They want to drop a few pounds before the start of the summer.
As you know, my advice is to always seek natural alternatives to Big Pharma drugs.
And that’s especially important when it comes to diet pills.
The FDA always seems to be approving a new “miracle” weight-loss pill, only to recall it a few years later. To date, dozens of diet drugs have been taken off the market.
Diet pills can cause all kinds of problems, including heart attack, stroke, liver damage, and psychiatric disorders.
And they simply don’t help you lose weight and keep it off.
But the best news is that you can lose weight and be bathing suit ready… naturally!
You see, there’s new research that reveals supplementing with selenium may hold the key to losing weight and helping you burn fat fast.1
Selenium is a trace mineral with powerful health properties. Research shows that because it fights inflammation, it can protect against heart disease,2 boost the immune system,3 prevent free radical damage,4 reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease,5 improve prostate health,6 and lower rates of thyroid disease.7
A deficiency in this important nutrient can lead to muscle weakness, fatigue, mental fog, hair loss, a weakened immune system, and infertility.
And now, a new animal study by researchers at the Orentreich Foundation for the Advancement of Science (OFAS) found that adding selenium to your diet can be as beneficial as strict calorie restriction. Let me explain.
Earlier research found that selenium increases an energy-regulating hormone called IGF-1.8 IGF-1, known as the “weight-loss hormone,” is an insulin-like growth factor that releases fat from fat cells to feed the body.
When you have enough IGF-1 around you burn fat naturally.
A team of researchers at OFAS wanted to test if selenium supplementation could offer the same protection against obesity. They fed old and young mice a diet that included the mineral or a control diet.
They that found that supplementing with selenium “completely protected mice of any age and sex against dramatic weight gain and fat accumulation.”9
They also discovered that the mice treated with selenium had significantly reduced levels of leptin.10 That’s the hunger hormone that tells your body it’s time to eat.
But selenium doesn’t just work in animals. In another recent study, researchers put 37 overweight and obese adults on a calorie-restricted meal plan for three months. Half the volunteers also took a 240 mg selenium supplement every day.
By the end of the study, the selenium group lost a “considerable amount” of body weight compared to those who got a placebo.11 They also shed more fat and had significantly lower levels of leptin.
And in a third study, researchers at the University of Alberta in Canada found that each 1 mcg increase in dietary selenium intake corresponded to a 6 percent decrease in body fat.12
Increase Selenium to Lose Weight and Boost Health
I recommend getting 100 to 200 mcg of selenium per day. The best way to get enough of this vital mineral is by eating grass-fed organ meat. Each serving provides about half the selenium you need daily. In addition to eating liver, here’s what I suggest:
- Add more selenium-rich foods to your plate. I recommend fresh, freeze-dried or aged garlic to my patients. It contains a bioactive form of selenium. Start with one garlic clove or capsule and slowly increase to three cloves or capsules after each meal. Brazil nuts are another good source of selenium. One Brazil nut contains around 100 mcg of the mineral — so you just need two per day. You can also get selenium from grass-fed red meat, tuna, eggs and walnuts — although in lower quantities. Seaweed is also rich in selenium.
- Supplement to boost your selenium. The government’s recommendation of 55 mcg a day is way too low. I recommend taking 200 mcg of selenium every day. Choose supplements that contain selenomethionine, the organic form of selenium, not the inorganic sodium selenite or selenite form. The human body absorbs more than 90% of selenomethionine, but only about 50% of selenium in its selenite state.13
- Enhance your body’s absorption with this nutrient. Vitamin E helps your body absorb selenium so I recommend taking them together. Make sure you get supplements that contain natural vitamin E — not its synthetic form. Vitamin E in the form of all-rac-alpha-tocopherol-acetate or dl-alpha-tocopherol should be avoided. I suggest supplementing with 50 mg of tocotrienols twice a day. Ideally, the purer the tocotrienol the better. And because vitamin E is fat-soluble, take it with a meal.
To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD, CNS
1. Plummer J, et al. “Selenium supplementation inhibits IGF-1 signaling and confers methionine restriction-like healthspan benefits to mice.” Elife. 2021 Mar 30;10:e62483.
2. Flores-Mateo G, et al. “Selenium and coronary heart disease: a meta-analysis.” Am J Clin Nutr. 2006 Oct;84(4):762-73.
3. Steinbrenner H, et al. “Dietary selenium in adjuvant therapy of viral and bacterial infections.” Adv Nutr. 2015 Jan; 6(1): 73–82.
4. Schnabel R, et al. “Selenium supplementation improves antioxidant capacity in vitro and in vivo in patients with coronary artery disease The SElenium Therapy in Coronary Artery disease Patients (SETCAP) Study.” Am Heart J. 2008 Dec;156(6):1201.e1-11.
5. González-Domínguez R, et al. “Homeostasis of metals in the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.” Biometals. 2014 Jun;27(3):539-49.
6. Cui Z, et al. “Serum selenium levels and prostate cancer risk.” Medicine (Baltimore). 2017 Feb; 96(5): e5944.
7. Toulis K, et al. “Selenium supplementation in the treatment of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis: a systematic review and a meta-analysis.” Thyroid. 2010 Oct;20(10):1163-73
8. Fontana L, et al. “Effects of 2‐year calorie restriction on circulating levels of IGF‐1, IGF‐binding proteins and cortisol in nonobese men and women: a randomized clinical trial.” Aging Cell. 2016 Feb; 15(1): 22–27.
9. Pettersson U, et al. “Female Mice are Protected against High-Fat Diet Induced Metabolic Syndrome and Increase the Regulatory T Cell Population in Adipose Tissue.”PLoS One. 2012; 7(9): e46057.
10. Cavedon E, et al. “Selenium supplementation, body mass composition, and leptin levels in patients with obesity on a balanced mildly hypocaloric diet: a pilot study.” Int J Endocrinol. 2020; 2020: 4802739.
11. Plummer J, et al. “Selenium supplementation inhibits IGF-1 signaling and confers methionine restriction-like healthspan benefits to mice.” Elife. 2021 Mar 30;10:e62483.
12. Wang Y, et al. “Significant beneficial association of high dietary selenium intake with reduced body fat in the CODING study.” Nutrients. 2016 Jan 4;8(1):24.
13. Institute of Medicine. Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Selenium, and Carotenoids. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 2000