A Closer Look At Lentil Health Benefits
A major breakthrough has been made by a PhD student in prevention of selenium, a micronutrient and mineral, deficiency in humans. Selenium is linked to probable incidences of certain diseases including male infertility, heart diseases, viral infections and some cancers. This breakthrough will further the knowledge and probable use of lentil health benefits in many populations.
Globally, over one billion individuals have selenium deficiency as a result of poor diet and majority of them are from countries like Bangladesh, New Zealand and Australia where levels of selenium in soil are extremely low.
Biofortification: A Doorway To Lentil Health Benefits
Mahmudur Rahman, a PhD student in Bangladesh, along with his supervisors Professor William Erskine and Professor Kadambot Siddique has been successful in developing a method to increase selenium concentration in lentil seeds. This method is called biofortification.
These individuals belonging to The University of Western Australia’s Institute of Agriculture and Centre for Plant Genetics and Breeding in the School of Plant Biology, analyzed and investigated the properties of selenium in lentil seeds and soil by collaborating with Cornell University in the U.S. and North Dakota State University.
These studies carried out in Australia and Bangladesh in order to find out the selenium concentration in lentil seeds, which provides most of the lentil health benefits. In Australia, in collaboration with Department of Environment and Primary Industries and South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) they demonstrated that during lentil plant’s reproduction stage, applying 40 g/ha (gram per hectare) of selenium on it directly increased the seeds’ concentration by 10 times i.e. from 200 µg/kg to 2772 µg/kg (micrograms per kilogram).
Professor Erskine stated that the research they conducted demonstrated without the alteration of food habits, biofortified lentils have the ability to provide sufficient dietary selenium to individuals residing in countries with low levels of selenium in their soil like Bangladesh, New Zealand and Australia. He also added that with a mere consumption of 20 gm of biofortified lentils provide the recommended daily selenium count to get the lentil health benefits.
The studies in Bangladesh show that the average concentration of seed selenium is around 312 µg/kg in comparison with 200 µg/kg in Australia. According to the research in both countries, the various varieties and location of lentils play a major factor in the concentration levels of selenium in seeds.
According to Rahman their research showed that genetic variations in lentils has an impact on the concentration and uptake amount of selenium. This points towards the possible breeding and selection of enhanced varieties that have greater amounts of selenium.
Professor Siddique further explained that consumption of a selenium deficient diet can increase chances of arsenic poisoning amongst individuals who have been exposed to arsenic contaminated water. He mentioned that over 80 million individuals living in Bangladesh are prone to drinking this contaminated water.
This entire breakthrough is especially beneficial to Bangladesh. The group believes that its because on average citizens consume merely half the daily amount of selenium as recommended by WHO which is 55µg per person.
Selenium deficiency may make it easier for those who suffer from it to develop certain illnesses when under stress. For example, Keshan disease, a type of cardiomyopathy, was found in some parts of China where selenium deficiency occurred. Kashin-Beck disease, a form of osteoarthritis, was also found in China, Tibet, and Siberia when the population was deficient in selenium.
There is some thought that selenium may help in preventing cancer due to its antioxidant properties. Clinical research has yielded mixed results in examining this question. But some epidemiological studies have shown lower risk of colorectal, prostate, lung, bladder, skin, and gastric cancers when selenium levels are sufficient. More research is needed on the effect of sufficient levels of selenium on avoiding the risk of cancer.
Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome and Micronutrient Deficiencies
Adrenal Fatigue is detrimentally affected by deficiencies in micronutrients. These deficiencies often are not clear and aren’t considered by traditional medicine in diagnosis and treatment. But the interaction between nutrition and stress is critical in correct treatment of the sometimes vague symptoms of adrenal fatigue. Thus, increasing micronutrients such as selenium can have a beneficial effect on adrenal fatigue symptoms. This new research is a promising step in the right direction.
The NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) Stress ResponseSM approach takes into consideration the metabolic system in which micronutrient deficiencies have their detrimental effects. The NEM stress response model views the body’s response to stress more comprehensively than traditional medicine and leads to more effective treatments, including correcting selenium imbalances. Correcting these micronutrient imbalances lessens the chance of toxic substances affecting the body and making it more vulnerable to stress. This will improve quality of life for all people.
Source: Medical Press August 2014