Selenium sources, health benefits and uses

Thursday, September 28, 2017 by

Selenium is a trace mineral, meaning that the human body needs only a small amount of it daily. In spite of this, selenium plays several important roles in numerous biological processes, which include but aren’t limited to acting as an antioxidant, maintaining the immune system and keeping the thyroid gland healthy. Moreover, selenium deficiency can lead to detrimental health symptoms like joint inflammation, increased susceptibility to infection, and growth problems.

Nuts, whole grains, and legumes are all excellent sources of selenium. However, their selenium content can vary depending on whether or not these foods have been exposed to chemical fertilizers. This is because their selenium content depends on the concentration of selenium in the soil they were grown in.

Medicinal uses for selenium

As one of the most essential micronutrients, selenium is believed to decrease the risk of many diseases, as well as lessen their symptoms. These include:

  • Asthma
  • Cancer
  • Dandruff
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Eye disorders
  • Free radicals
  • HIV
  • Heart disease and disorders
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Lupus
  • Male infertility
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Pancreatic disorders
  • Skin disorders
  • Thyroid disorders

In addition to having antioxidant effects by itself, selenium works together with another antioxidant, vitamin E, to neutralize and eliminate free radicals. These atoms have been connected with such health ailments as heart disease and cancer. Furthermore, selenium is known to nullify the toxic effects of lead, mercury, and other cancer-causing heavy metals.

Because of its positive impact on the thyroid gland, selenium can prevent hypothyroidism, a condition wherein the body lacks adequate amounts of thyroid hormones and thus is unable to properly facilitate metabolic functions. Selenium helps the thyroid gland by protecting it from harmful substances and by supporting regular thyroid structure.

Although not a disease in itself, dandruff can still be a big problem for many people. Fortunately, selenium can lessen dandruff by killing off Malassezia folliculitis, a fungus that dries out human hair and causes dandruff.

Due to it being essential to the creation of certain proteins in sperm, selenium can be a good countermeasure against male infertility. However, this is only applicable to adequate amounts of selenium, as too much of this mineral can make it more difficult for sperm to swim.

Body systems supported by selenium

Selenium can nourish many of the body’s organs and systems, most notably:

  • Blood
  • Eyes
  • Hair
  • Immune system
  • Nervous system
  • Pancreas
  • Respiratory system
  • Thyroid

The immune system needs selenium to function at optimal capacity. Specifically, selenium boosts the production of antibodies and helps the immune system in fighting against viruses.

More than just combating inflammation and free radicals, selenium further boosts the health of the heart by improving blood flow and reducing the chances of blood clots by thinning out the blood. Low concentrations of selenium have been linked to heart disease, so ensuring that the daily recommended allowance is met keeps the heart healthy and less prone to sickness.

Selenium levels can decline with age, hence why it’s believed that selenium can prevent age-related mental decline through its antioxidant properties.

Where to learn more

Summary

The trace mineral selenium has many contributions towards overall health. For one, it can support and nourish the heart, thyroid gland, immune system, and brain. For another, taking daily doses of selenium can prevent the onset of hypothyroidism, heart disorders, and skin disorders.

Sources include:

PubChem.NCBI.NLM.NIH.gov
Botanical-Online.com
DrHealthBenefits.com



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