Selenium is an essential mineral that plays a crucial role in metabolism and thyroid function. Additionally, learn the 10 health benefits of selenium below.
Selenium is primarily used by the human body to produce enzymes called selenoproteins, which are a protein family that contains selenium in the form of an amino acid (selenocysteine). Their activity is dependent on a sufficient supply of selenium in the diet.
There are approximately 25 different selenoproteins, but only half of these have been identified to have functions. These proteins are said to have extremely high antioxidant capacities, which help the body fight diseases and boost the immune system.
Selenium is classified as an essential mineral, which means that the human body requires it to function but cannot produce it on its own. Selenium can be found everywhere (in the air, water, land, and all living things). While the human body requires only trace amounts of selenium, it is still important for our health. Many vital functions, such as metabolism and thyroid function, are impossible to perform without selenium.
10 important health benefits of selenium
The 10 health benefits of selenium include the following:
- Selenium promotes the production of white blood cells, which help fight against infection.
- Selenium, as an antioxidant, is a powerful protector and fantastic immune booster. Thus, it may help the body remain disease-free in general.
- It helps keep free radicals from causing damage to cells and DNA.
- According to research, higher levels of selenium are associated with a lower risk of heart disease.
- These cardioprotective benefits are thought to be due to selenium’s ability to reduce oxidative stress and act as an anti-inflammatory substance.
- Some anti-dandruff shampoos contain selenium as an active ingredient.
- Naturopaths use selenium supplements to treat acne, tendinitis, male infertility, and postmenopausal symptoms in women.
- Because it helps repair tissues and maintains the skin’s youthful elasticity, selenium is considered an important component in naturopathic longevity diets.
- Selenium is required for normal sperm morphology and motility.
- Selenium’s antioxidant properties protect sperm from free radical damage, and it has even been shown to reduce oxidative stress in people with low sperm motility.
- Medical professionals advise people to consume selenium because it is extremely beneficial at combating the onset of cancer.
- Selenium deficiency is linked to impaired thyroid function.
- Selenium has been shown to reduce the risk of developing neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and multiple sclerosis.
- When it comes to bone health, selenium plays a powerful dual role.
- It inhibits the activation of osteoclasts (cells that break down bone) while promoting the formation and activity of osteoblasts.
- Bone-building cells research indicates that it helps treat rheumatoid arthritis.
- There have been some very promising research into the role of selenium in asthma symptoms management.
- Selenium’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties may help reduce the severity and frequency of asthma attacks.
To summarize, selenium promotes growth and healthy muscle activity, supports reproductive organs, reduces the toxicity of certain elements (such as mercury), boosts the immune system, reduces inflammation, helps prevent cancer, and even slows the spread of certain viruses (influenza, Ebola, human immunodeficiency virus).
How much selenium is good for people?
The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for adults and children aged older than 14 years is 55 mcg. Doctors usually recommend taking an organic form of selenium, such as yeast-bound selenium or selenomethionine.
According to studies and research, the RDA for selenium is:
|Age and gender||RDA of selenium (mcg)|
|Pregnant females||60 mcg|
|Lactating females||70 mcg|
|Infants 0 to 6 months||15 mcg|
|Aged 7 to 12 months||20 mcg|
|Children 1 to 4 years||20 mcg|
|Aged 4 to 8 years||30 mcg|
|Aged 9 to 13 years||40 mcg|
Brazil nuts are well-known for their selenium content. While the exact content varies depending on the quality of the soil in which it was grown, one Brazil nut provides the complete selenium requirement.
What is selenium toxicity?
Selenium toxicity is an uncommon side effect in the United States, but high amounts of selenium in the blood can cause selenosis, which is a condition with symptoms, such as:
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Medically Reviewed on 10/21/2021
Harvard T.H. Chan. Selenium. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/selenium/
National Institutes of Health. Selenium. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Selenium-HealthProfessional/