Selenium, Health Benefits, Sources, and Side effects
Selenium is an integral trace mineral that is vital in many processes of the body, including cognitive function, a healthy immune system, and both male and female fertility.
It helps prevent oxidative damage and infection. According to the Office of United States of Dietary Supplements, and plays a part in the thyroid hormone metabolism and DNA synthesis. It is found primarily in the skeletal muscle located in human tissue.
Versatile food sources are present and brazil nuts, fish and meats are among the diverse food sources. Selenium in foods also depends on the selenium concentrations in the soil in which farmers grow or the water they use.
Dosage of selenium
- The recommended daily intake of selenium for adults is 55 mg.
- Women who are pregnant should take 60 mcg per day.
Lactating women should take 70 mcg per day.
Sources of selenium
The food sources of selenium are;
- Brazil nuts
- Baked halibut
- White bread and eggs
- Brown rice
Health benefits of Selenium
1. Selenium for cardiovascular health
Selenoproteins can protect themselves against cardiovascular disease, as they avoid the oxidization of lipids and fats in the human body.
This decreases inflammation and prevents platelets from building up. However, the use of selenium supplements, for this reason, is not supported by clinical evidence.
2. Selenium for Cognitive decline
Selenium antioxidant activity can contribute to reducing cognitive or decline, mental as the age of the people increases.
There is also combined evidence from research and supplements of selenium for those at risk of diseases like Alzheimer’s are still not recommended, but they might also have a role in prevention which is still under investigation.
3. Selenium for Thyroid disorders
Selenium plays a key role in thyroid hormone production and metabolization. There is some evidence of fewer thyroid problems for women with greater selenium, but this has not been proved for men and mixed results have also been produced by other research.
More studies are in progress to determine whether selenium supplements will improve the health of the thyroid.
4. Selenium for Cancer
Selenium can help prevent cancer through the role played by selenium in DNA repair and other functions. However, mixed findings were obtained through various studies.
5. Selenium as potent antioxidant
Antioxidants are food compounds that prevent the damage to the cells carried by free radicals. Free radicals are normal by-products of processes such as your body’s metabolism that occur every day. Often you have a bad rap, but free radicals are vital to your health.
They do important tasks, like defending the body from sickness. However, smoking, alcohol consumption, and stress may trigger excess free radicals. This causes oxidative stress which results in damaging healthy cells.
6. Selenium for immune system
By recognizing and combating potential threats, your immune system keeps your body healthy. Bacteria, viruses, and parasites are included in the potential threats. Selenium plays a key function in the health of your immune system.
This antioxidant helps reduce the body’s oxidative stress and as a result, it reduces inflammation and improves the immunity of the body. Increased blood levels of selenium are connected with the enhanced response of the immune system.
On the other hand, deficiency in the blood level of selenium can fail the immune cell function to be damaging and may lead to a slower immune response.
Side effects of selenium
Taking high doses of selenium can cause serious health conditions such as;
- Brittle nails
- Neurological disorders
- Decaying teeth
- Smell while breathing or metallic tasting in mouth
- Gastrointestinal disorders
- Skin lesions
- Hair loss
- In severe cases, high doses of selenium can lead to heart failure, kidney failure, and death.