As well as selenium deficiency diseases such as those affecting the heart and joints, low intake may also increase susceptibility to other disorders. A British study has found that women with low levels of selenium in their blood faced a high risk of miscarriage and recent research showed that a selenium supplement of 200 micrograms a day reduced deaths from cancer by 50 per cent.
An editorial in the Journal calls for selenium to be added to bread flour or fertilisers to improve the nation's health. In the meantime, it recommends supplements or a daily helping of Brazil nuts would be the best option. Glenda Cooper