Unhealthy mineral deficiency: Increasing selenium deficiency due to climate warming

Selenium is a trace element that plants take from the earth and we feed ourselves through food. People need selenium: It strengthens the immune system and is necessary to build up proteins. But now the amount of selenium is sinking in the soil, worldwide. The cause is the global warming.

selenium deficiency
If we take in too little selenium, the immune system can no longer work effectively and the body can no longer produce necessary proteins. Heart failure or a diseased heart muscle are possible consequences. For example, cancer risk arises in deficiency symptoms: selenium can protect the liver.

Oxygen, Carbon and Clay
How much selenium is formed depends, among other things, on the oxygen, carbon and clay in the soil, and also on the pH value. Northern European countries such as Denmark, Finland, Scotland and Germany are low in selenium.

Those who take too little nutrients risk an increased risk of cancer. Picture: Selenium deficiency can cause cancer. Image: vkuslandia - fotolia

Swiss study
Swiss researchers from the Swiss Federal Institute for Water, Wastewater Treatment and Water Protection now examined the global amount of selenium from 33,241 soil samples collected between 1994 and 2016.

The Climate Decides
They came to the conclusion that the relationship between climate and soil is crucial for the concentration of selenium. Above all, precipitation and evaporation are essential. A lot of rain washes away the soil and thus the selenium.

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Wet soils have little oxygen
The equation a lot of rain equals a little selenium is not true anyway, because soaked with rain soil containsless oxygen and a lower pH, so some acidification and so the selenium remains better bound to the ground.

Where is Selenium the most?
The study found: Ideal for a high concentration of selenium is little to medium precipitation and much clay in the soil.

Selenium Concentration Decreases
The study outlines the following scenario: Although global warming increases the concentration of the substance in certain regions of India, China, Australia and Africa. However, worldwide concentration is decreasing.

selenium loss of nine percent
In about 66% of all agricultural land by the end of this century, the selenium amount will fall by nine percent. Most severely affected are Europe, South Africa, the West of the USA and the South of South America. Already today, according to the study, one billion people are selenium deficient.

What to do?
The researchers suggest using selenium fertilizers and adding selenium to animal feed.(Dr. Utz Anhalt)

Source:( Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2017; doi: 10.1073 / pnas.1611576114)

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