Selenium is a trace mineral found naturally in the soil that also appears in certain foods and there are even small amounts in water.
Selenium is an extremely vital mineral for the human body as it increases immunity, takes part in antioxidant activity that defends against free radical damage and inflammation, and plays a key role in maintaining a healthy metabolism.
The amount of selenium in food often depends on the selenium concentration of the soil and water where the food was grown or raised.
According to studies, consuming plenty of naturally occurring selenium has positive antiviral effects, is essential for successful male and female fertility and reproduction, and also reduces the risk of cancer, autoimmune and thyroid diseases.
The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for selenium is 55 micrograms per day for adults. Pregnant and lactating women have a slightly higher need for selenium at 60 and 70 micrograms per day, respectively.
Selenium deficiency is rare worldwide, often takes years to develop and is usually only found in regions with severely low selenium content in the soil. Several regions in China with low soil selenium content have eradicated deficiencies in the population through supplementation programs.
Selenium is one of many important dietary minerals, and we require a small amount of selenium in our daily diet. Selenium is incorporated in a small cluster of important proteins, each of which plays a critical role in our health. Scientists named these selenium-containing proteins “selenoproteins.”
Most of our food groups at WHFoods provide valuable amounts of selenium. Fish, grass-fed and pasture-raised meats, whole grains, and nuts and seeds are either good, very good, or excellent food sources of selenium.
In food, the mineral is found in Brazil nuts, poultry, seafood, and meats, while significant amounts are found in oats and brown rice.
A deficiency of selenium is rare but symptoms can include muscular weakness and fatigue. Conversely, too much selenium will result in depression, nausea, vomiting, nervousness, loss of hair, and a bad odor on your fingernails.
Selenium also benefits the skin during healing following burn injuries. Shampoo with selenium may alleviate dandruff problems. For skin care, selenium’s antioxidant properties regenerate vitamins E and C, thereby decreasing the aging of skin.
Major benefits of selenium have been found to improve the immune system against bacterial and viral infections, against cancer cells and herpes virus, cold sores, and shingles. One of the major nutritional benefits of selenium is increasing the HDL cholesterol to LDL cholesterol for a healthy heart.
Defends Against Oxidative Stress (Selenium)
1) Selenium benefits include the ability to fight the aging process and help the immune system by reducing free radical damage. 2) Selenium has a synergistic effect with other antioxidants like Vitamin E. Enabling the body to fight oxidative stress and to defend against cancers like prostate and colon cancer.
3) Selenium is an essential component of glutathione peroxidase, which is an important enzyme for processes that protect lipids (fats) in cell membranes. 4) Selenium is needed to fight oxidative degradation of cells and to protect against mutation and DNA damage that can cause disease.
*Selenium is especially helpful if you have a weak immune system or a history of cancer in your family. Interventions using *selenium treatments at high doses have shown that *selenium benefits anti-cancer abilities within the body.
According to studies, *selenium is effective at reducing the risk of cancer incidence. Cancer caused mortality, and severity of cancers specifically in the liver, prostate, colo-rectal and lungs.
*Selenium acts like a little mechanic within the body. 1) It goes into the nucleus of cell where the DNA and genome are stored and finds damage. 2) It attaches to protective antioxidants like glutathione and then works to reduce and repair damage done to DNA. Which left uncontrolled could lead to cancerous cell mutation and tumor growth.
3) It does this because *selenium has a special job of activating selenoproteins, acting in an enzymic role that helps antioxidants to do their job best. There is evidence that *selenium benefits include not only being able cut cancer risk but also help to slow down existing cancer progression and tumor growth.
Normal Thyroid Function
When it comes to the endocrine system and the regulation of hormones in the body, the thyroid gland is one of the most significant and impacting. Research has shown that *selenium is an essential component of the thyroid gland’s functions, and helps to regulate the amount of thyroid hormone that is produced within the body. The T3 hormone is one of the most important products of the thyroid gland, and it controls your body’s overall metabolic rate and function. Without *selenium, the T3 hormone cannot be produced, which can be catastrophic to a wide variety of your body’s systems.
A *selenium-containing enzyme is responsible for transforming a less active thyroid hormone called T4 into the more active T3. *Selenium and iodine work together to keep thyroid function strong and consistent.
Studies have shown that *selenium is important in the stimulation of antibodies, which are elements of the immune system which can see out and destroy viral, bacterial, fungal, and protozoan foreign bodies that can result in diseases and infections. *Selenium helps to stimulate these antibodies, particularly after you receive a vaccination for one of these diseases, making your body resilient and experienced in fighting them off so you remain healthy and protected throughout your life.
Although we mentioned free radicals as they relate to cancerous growth in the body, they can actually affect the entire body in a number of terrible ways. Free radicals can weaken or kill cells in every organ system. So the antioxidant potential of *selenium is vital for protecting health in far more ways than cancer prevention. Free radicals can result in heart disease, kidney malfunction, digestive issues, metabolic syndrome, hormonal imbalance, and premature aging. *Selenium acts as an antioxidant and stimulates the creation of more antioxidants!
Free radicals are particularly associated with the aging process. As they are one of the primary causes behind wrinkles. Age spots, loose skin, weakened muscles, and a generally older appearance. Cognitive decline has also been associated with free radical activity in the neural cortex. Destroying pathways and inhibiting the proper functioning of nervous impulses. *Selenium can help prevent all of these dangerous conditions from affecting your body by neutralizing these free radicals before they can affect you.
Foods sources of *selenium
Brazil nuts, 1 ounce: 543 micrograms
Halibut, baked, 1 fillet: 148 micrograms
Tuna, canned, 3 ounces: 68 micrograms
Oysters, raw, 3 ounces: 56 micrograms
Rice, white, long grain, 1 cup: 44 micrograms
Lobster, 3 ounces: 36 micrograms
Sunflower seeds, ¼ cup: 25 micrograms
Egg, 1 large: 16 micrograms
Bread, whole wheat, 1 slice: 10 micrograms.
The amount of *selenium in grains and grain-based foods greatly depends on soil content.
Most fruits and vegetables are low in *selenium.