Definition: "An ergogenic aid is any substance or phenomenon that enhances performance "
Positive cardiovascular effects of a handful of Brazil nuts last for a month
Why Brazil nuts?
Just two of them are enough to cover your daily selenium requirement. In addition, your body absorbs the selenium in Brazil nuts better than the selenium in supplements containing L-seleno-methionine.
The body needs selenium for enzymes such as glutathione peroxidases and thioredoxin reductases to work properly. Glutathione peroxidases play a role in detoxification processes. As a result, a relatively high selenium intake may reduce the likelihood of developing some forms of cancer. But the role of glutathione peroxidases is so diverse that a shortage of selenium can have many other negative health effects too.
However, too much selenium is not healthy either. A 2007 trial, in which participants took 200 mg selenium every day, showed that supplementation caused a significant increase in the likelihood of developing type-2 diabetes. [Ann Intern Med. 2007 Aug 21;147(4):217-23.] Nutritionists recommend taking no more than 300 micrograms selenium daily.
More noticeable was the effect of the 20 and 50-gram doses of Brazil nuts on the participants' cholesterol balance. These reduced the levels of LDL [bad cholesterol] and increased the concentration of HDL [good cholesterol]. Both these positive effects were still visible a month after the participants had eaten the nuts.
The Brazil nuts that the researchers used provided 31 micrograms selenium per gram. That meant that the highest doses provided more selenium in one go than the 300-microgram maximum recommended by nutritionists. This dose didn't have any negative health effects, however, the Brazilians discovered when they examined the participants' blood for AST, ALT, alkaline phosphatase, gamma-GT and CRP.
"In addition, it is also important to evaluate the isolated and combined effects of selenium and/or unsaturated fatty acids found in Brazil nuts on atherogenic parameters in order to better understand their mechanistic role in modulating cardiac indexes in healthy and dyslipidemic subjects. In addition, the evaluation of the effects of chronic consumption of Brazil nuts and the inclusion of dyslipidemic patients are paths to be followed."