Selenium, iodine and chromium – each of these essential minerals plays an important role in human nutrition.
Collectively, they support the immune system and thyroid function, regulate our metabolism to promote healthy weight and blood sugar levels, and play an important role in women’s reproductive health. New Zealand’s soil is lacking in all three. This means that locally-grown food is also low in these minerals.
The body only needs trace amounts, and an excess of any mineral in the body can result in toxicity, so you should only take supplements in consultation with your doctor. But because New Zealand’s soil is naturally low in these minerals, it’s not uncommon for Kiwis to be deficient in one or more of these nutrients.
This is why we developed Multiva, a multi-vitamin designed for kiwis, which includes ample amounts of selenium, iodine, and chromium.
Selenium is especially important for healthy thyroid function
Deficiency can cause hypothyroidism, which can lead to abnormal weight gain and chronic fatigue. Research has also linked selenium deficiency to a higher risk of cancer and heart disease.
Selenium acts as an antioxidant that helps prevent cell damage caused by free radicals. It works in combination with other antioxidants, like vitamins C and E, to support the immune system. Studies have indicated selenium’s antioxidant activity as a preventive against skin cancer and cataracts.
Fertility and healthy ovulation can also be affected by selenium deficiency, as the mineral helps to balance sex-hormones. Deficiency has been linked to pregnancy miscarriage.
Selenium can inhibit and help to reduce toxicity in the body caused by heavy metals such as mercury, aluminium, cadmium and lead. Foods containing selenium include brazil nuts, eggs, liver, tuna and poultry, but of course locally produced foods may contain less.
Iodine, like selenium, is another trace mineral important for regulating thyroid hormones
Thyroid hormones can have an effect on mood, metabolism and weight management. Symptoms of iodine deficiency include goiter (enlarged thyroid), unexplained weight gain, depression and anxiety.
Iodine also contributes to healthy ovulation and is thought to help ease premenstrual symptoms. In terms of its effect on the reproductive system, iodine is essential for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, and women who are trying to become pregnant. There is evidence that iodine deficiency during pregnancy can affect the child’s brain development.
In New Zealand most table salt is iodised, to help balance the lack of this trace mineral in our soil. You probably get enough iodine from the salt you add to your food. The main whole food sources of iodine are fish, seaweed and eggs.
Chromium supports the metabolism by helping to maintain healthy blood sugar levels and weight
It does this by enhancing the action of insulin and helping the body to turn carbohydrates, proteins and fats into energy.
Chromium has also been linked to eye health, and research suggests a link between low chromium levels and glaucoma.
It also helps with the absorption of calcium and bone growth, so it may play a role in preserving bone density in post-menopausal women, who are more at risk of osteoporosis. Chromium levels seem to diminish with age, so deficiency is particularly a concern for the elderly, and for people with diabetes.
If you suspect you may be deficient in one or more of these minerals, check with your doctor before taking mineral supplements. It is possible to have too much of a good thing! All of these trace minerals can be toxic if taken in excess.
Looking for a natural supplement that addresses New Zealand’s soil deficiencies? Give Multiva a go. Developed especially for kiwi men and women.