Health Benefits of Selenium
Selenium is a critical trace mineral that is significant for plenty of bodily processes, like cognitive function, healthy fertility in both males and females, improvement in our natural defense system. It contributes to thyroid hormone metabolism and DNA formation and helps to protect from oxidative stress and infection, according to the United States Office of Dietary Supplements. It is found in human tissue, mainly in skeletal muscle. There are different food sources of this mineral, like poultry, lentils, and nuts, etc.
The quantity of selenium in food often relies on the selenium concentration of the soil and water where farmers developed or raised the food. It may be beneficial against cancer, thyroid issues, cognitive decline, and asthma. But more studies are needed to prove the majority of its benefits. The best source of this mineral is food, but its supplement form is also available in the market. You can also try them, but going for it speak to your doctor or physician first for better understanding.
Here we will talk about the health benefits of selenium and mainly other essential points. So, let's get started!
What is Selenium?
Selenium is a trace mineral that is present in various foods, added to others, and available as a dietary formula in different markets. It is essential for your body and a constituent of more than two dozen selenoproteins. These play critical roles in reproduction, thyroid hormone metabolism, DNA formation, and offering protection from oxidative stress and infection.
It is present in two forms; inorganic (selenate and selenite) and organic (selenomethionine and selenocysteine). Both forms may be perfect dietary sources of selenium. Soils comprise inorganic selenites and selenates that plants gather and transform into organic forms, mostly selenocysteine and selenomethionine or their methylated derivatives.
Majority selenium is in the form of selenomethionine in our tissues, where it can be added nonspecifically with methionine in body proteins. Skeletal muscle is the central area of selenium storage, accounting for about 27% to 45% of the total selenium pool.
Both selenocysteine and selenite are converted to synthesize hydrogen selenide that transforms to selenophosphate for selenoprotein biosynthesis.
The most commonly utilized measures of this mineral status are plasma or serum selenium concentrations. Concentrations in blood and urine reflect current selenium consumption. Analyses of hair or nail this mineral content may be utilized to check longer-term consumptions over months.
Quantification of one or more selenoproteins (like glutathione peroxidase and selenoprotein P) is also utilized as a functional measure of selenium.
Plasma or serum selenium concentrations of 7 micrograms (mcg)/dL or h greater in healthy individuals typically fulfill the needs for selenoprotein formation.
Health Benefits of Selenium
- Inflammation and Antioxidants Properties
Inflammation becomes a prevalent health disease in society. Inflammation occurs due to the redness and reaction of infection of your body. Selenium contains anti-inflammatory properties. It has the ability to tackle this serious issue. It produces selenoprotiens, which are useful for the treatment of inflammation. It can stop the stimulating of NF-kB.
NF-kB enhances the process of inflammation in your body. There are several antioxidant properties in it. Antioxidants can save your essential cells by damaging them because of free radicals. A high amount of free radicals increases the level of stress. They also enlarge the oxidative stress, which affects your healthy cells severely. Selenium lessens the oxidative stress by controlling the number of free radicals. It also saves you from a chronic condition such as Alzheimer's.
- May Aid Minimize Asthma Symptoms
Asthma is a chronic disorder that influences the airways that carry air in and out of your lungs. These airways become swollen and begin to narrow, leading to signs such as restlessness, shortness of breath, massive chest, and coughing.
Asthma has been linked to enhanced levels of oxidative damage and inflammation in your body. Because of selenium's ability to minimize inflammation, several research pieces recommend that selenium mineral may help minimize asthma-related signs.
One recent study recommends that individuals who have asthma have reduced blood levels of this mineral. Additionally, the same research highlighted that asthmatic patients with higher levels of blood selenium had motivated lung function than those with reduced levels.
Selenium pills may also aid in reducing asthma-related signs. For example, one research expressed that providing individuals with asthma 100 mcg of selenium on a regular basis decreased their usage of the corticosteroid medications utilized for controlling their symptoms.
However, studies in this area are not satisfactory, and plenty of these studies are required to fully understand this mineral role in the growth and treatment of asthma.
- Aids Prevent Mental Decline
Alzheimer's condition is a devastating situation that leads to memory loss and adverse influences on thinking or behavior. It's one of the leading trigger of death in the United States.
The strength of this condition is increasing day by day. Therefore it is incredibly vital to find a way to prevent this degenerative disease.
Oxidative stress is thought to be included in the onset and progression of a neurological condition such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's conditions. A plethora of studies has indicated that patients with Alzheimer's condition have reduced blood levels of selenium.
Also, certain studies have highlighted that antioxidants in both foods and dietary formulas may promote memory in people with Alzheimer's condition. One recent study highlighted that supplementing with one selenium-high Brazil nut each day improved verbal fluency and other mental functions in individuals with mild cognitive conditions.
Furthermore, the Mediterranean diet that is high in selenium-containing foods such as seafood and nuts has been linked to a reduced risk of growing Alzheimer's condition.
Moreover, Natural health dietary formulas with selenium may aid in combating diseases such as Alzheimer's. In studies, people with Parkinson's and Alzheimer's were discovered to have irregularly low levels of this mineral. Supplementation with it once a day may create a dramatic improvement in the patient's cognitive abilities.
- Beneficial for Thyroid Gland
Selenium is significant for the adequate activity of the thyroid gland. The reality is, thyroid tissue comprises a higher quantity of selenium than any other organ in your body.
This potential mineral aids in protecting your thyroid against oxidative stress and plays a critical role in the formation of thyroid hormones. A healthy thyroid gland is significant, as it maintains your metabolism and regulates growth or development.
Selenium deficiency has been linked to thyroid problems such as Hashimoto's thyroiditis. It is a kind of hypothyroidism in which your immune system attacks your thyroid gland.
One recent research involving over 5,000 individuals discovered that low serum levels of this mineral were linked to maximize the risk of autoimmune thyroiditis or hypothyroidism. Moreover, certain studies have highlighted that selenium pills may benefit individuals with Hashimoto's condition.
One study concluded that consuming selenium supplements on a regular basis for two months resulted in reduced thyroid antibodies. It also caused improvements in mood and typical well-being in people with Hashimoto's condition. However, several studies are required before selenium supplements can be suggested for people with Hashimoto's disease.
Cancer is the deadly disease all over the world. Many people lose their life because of cancer. It occurs because of the growth of abnormal cells in your body. Some studies show that the intake of a high amount of selenium can lessen the chance of cancer. It also decreases the danger of prostate and colorectal cancer.
According to some researchers, a mixture of selenium and silymarin turns down some severe health issues such as LDL and inflammation after the termination of the prostate from your body. It has the capability to minimize DNA damage and break down cancer cells. It may ability to tackle with some other prominent types of cancers like lung, breast, and colon cancers. Selenium-based supplements also enhance the quality of life and reduce the threat of uterine cancer in women.
- Heart-Related Issues
There are some severe heart issues like heart stroke. Heart disease becomes a very critical problem in the world. Selenium is useful for the treatment of health-related diseases.it can enhance the health of your heart. The deficiency of selenium causes the chances of heart-related cases. It plays a defensive role against heart issues by speeding up prominent antioxidant glutathione.
It stops the cluster of platelets and turns down the oxidative stress. The shortage of selenium develops reactive substances. These reactive substances cause a lowering of flexibility in blood vessels. Some studies show that selenium based supplements lessen the danger of heart failure.
Furthermore, in clinical trials, low levels of this mineral are linked to an enhanced risk of heart disorder. Health experts frequently suggest selenium supplements, particularly for patients at risk of heart issues. This mineral functions as a preventative, and inhibiting the factors that cause heart attack and coronary artery disorder.
- Reproductive Health and Fertility
Fertility is the capability of both men and women to reproduce through sexual activity. It is very important to maintain the reproductive health of an individual. Selenium plays a vital role in improving reproductive health in both women and men. It becomes an essential element for producing testosterone and sperm in men. Some studies show that selenium based supplements enlarge the movability of sperm in men.
It can expand the levels of testosterone in rats with a low amount of selenium. It may be sufficient during pregnancy in women. Some studies also show that such women who have a low level of selenium can face miscarriages.
- Additional Benefits of Selenium
- One recent study recommends that consuming yeast that is loaded with 500 mcg of selenium on a regular basis for 10 weeks, in combination with vitamin E, does not stimulate the severity of eczema.
- The result of the majority of clinical trials recommends that consuming this mineral minimizes the risk of cardiovascular disorder.
- In individuals who are already suffering from this issue, consuming 50 mcg of selenium and beta-carotene and vitamin E may improve the condition of the cardiovascular problems. Also, consuming 100 mcg of selenium on a regular basis for about 7 years does not minimize the risk of growing heart issues.
- Almost all studies recommend that consuming vitamins C or E with selenium prevent neurotoxicity or hearing loss because of the chemotherapy drug cisplatin.
- Providing 500-1000 mcg of thins mineral intravenously (by IV) or 200 mg of selenium (ebselen) orally on a regular basis daily to ill individuals seem to reduce the risk of death or infection.
- Some research indicates that people with low selenium levels have a higher chance of developing type-2 diabetes. The same research indicates that individuals with exceptional levels of this mineral also have an elevated risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Moreover, the most reliable study highlights that individuals who consume 100 mcg of selenium regularly for approximately 7 years have a maximized chance of having type-2 diabetes.
- Hepatitis C. Research shows that consuming 200 mcg of selenium and vitamin C for 6 months does not promote liver function or virus levels in people with hepatitis C.
- Consuming 100-200 mcg of selenium regularly, in combination with vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E, for almost four months, improves sperm function in infertile males.
- Regular selenium supplementation, 6 mcg/kg orally or 5 mcg/kg intravenously (by IV), may help to improve health in older adults.
- A recent study showed that taking 100 mcg regularly minimized the risk of lunch cancer by approximately 45 % in individuals without selenium deficiency.
- The same study also indicates that this mineral may decrease lung cancer risk in plenty of people.
- There has been plenty of interest in studying whether consuming this mineral reduces the probability of having prostate cancer. The observation boosted the interest that prostate cancer seems rare in males with elevated selenium levels in their bodies.
- Research highlights that consuming yeast loaded with 500 mcg of selenium regularly may minimize the severity of psoriasis.
- Consuming 100 mcg of selenium may minimize the risk of having a specific kind of skin cancer known as basal cell carcinoma. Clinical trial results recommend that taking selenium may actually reduce the risk of getting another type of skin cancer called squamous cell carcinoma.
- According to the Office for Dietary Supplements, selenoproteins may save against cardiovascular disease, as they stop the oxidative modification of fats, in your body.
Deficiency of Selenium
A deficiency of selenium in the U.S. is uncommon as the soil throughout North America is generally packed in selenium. Even if individuals live in areas with reduced-selenium soil, the transport of food across the area, and the usage of fortified foods and dietary supplements may minimize the risk of deficiency.
Two conditions are linked to the severe selenium deficiency, and they are as follows;
- Keshan disease, a kind of cardiomyopathy, or disease of the heart muscle
- Kashin-Beck disease, a specific kind of osteoarthritis
- Symptoms of its deficiency
Below are the general symptoms of selenium deficiency;
- Nausea, vomiting
- Muscle stiffness
- Altered mental state, confusion
- Lethargy or fatigued
Food Sources of Selenium
Meat is one of the best sources of selenium, and if you don't like meat, then you are missing the best source of this mineral without even try. You will obtain your daily requirements by 30 mcg with two ounces of ground pork, 16 mcg with two ounces of ham, 17 mcg with two ounces of ground beef and 25 mcg with two ounces of turkey
- Brown rice
White rice is load with selenium, and it is a suitable option to uplift your selenium consumption for those who genuinely love brown rice, so, for them, it is the best source indeed. One cup of cooked brown rice offers 10 mcg of the essential mineral, not much less than it's an enriched cousin.
- Dairy products
If you have to obtain proper nutrition from one serving size, you must try dairy items. Additionally, high levels of calcium and vitamin D will receive 7.5 mcg from one cup of skim milk. But some of the sound sources are cottage cheese that contains selenium 25 mcg in one cup, and fat-free Greek yogurt that offers 24 mcg in one serving.
The amount of selenium packed into eggs truly is remarkable. One egg contains 18 mcg of the vital mineral, meaning a breakfast that involves two of them will provide you enough amount of selenium content without any doubt. You can have eggs in many ways like an omelet, scrambled, or poached eggs. But trust me; all the forms are incredibly beneficial for overall health.
Mushrooms are also the best and renowned source of selenium like Brazil nuts.
You should include one cup of sliced white mushrooms to your breakfast scramble or stir-fry for an extra 6.5 mcg of selenium. Vegans or vegetarians who don't like meat can use portobello mushroom in their burger for 15 mcg.
You should begin your day with a cup of cooked oatmeal, and you'll be 10 mcg closer to fulfilling your daily selenium requirements and what you want more? (You may also enjoy a serving of calcium, potassium, and healthy dietary fiber along with it.
Vegetarians and vegans don't require to struggle to fulfill their requirements just because the meat is not included in the diet. One cup of cooked lentils provides a modest 5.3 mcg of selenium. You can eat it with rice and certain selenium-high vegetables for a meal that provides this mineral.
In short, poultry is a good source of selenium, and chicken is the topmost in this list. To obtain your daily value from chicken, you'd require 3-4 servings each day. It is also a leaner and more readily available source of this mineral. Organic or ethically raised chicken that is massively nutritious is also a good option, and you should try it.
The National Institutes of Health highlights that seafood, particularly fatty fish, is the best selenium source without any doubt. You require 1-2 servings each day of foods such as tuna, shrimp, or sardines to meet your requirements.
It does not matter you don't like meat; you must try them because they are the best way to get the promising health nutrients. Try them just once in your life, and you will feel the difference!
Why Do People Take It?
Selenium is a mineral present in the soil. It naturally appears in the water and some foods. While individuals only require a minute amount, this mineral plays a crucial role in metabolism.
It has gained popularity due to its antioxidant properties. Antioxidants protect your cells from damage. Selenium supplements may minimize the odds of prostate cancer. Selenium reduces the risk of colorectal or lung cancer.
Among healthy individuals in the U.S., its deficiency is rare. But some health issues like HIV, Crohn's disease, and others are linked to low selenium levels. Individuals who are fed intravenously are also at risk for the deficiency of selenium. Physician sometimes recommends that individuals with these conditions utilize selenium supplements.
Selenium has also been researched for the treatment of plenty of conditions. They range from asthma to infertility. However, more research is required to prove all the benefits.
How Much Selenium Should You Take?
The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) involves the total amount of selenium you must obtain from foods and any supplements you consume. Most people may obtain their RDA of selenium from foods that are rich in this mineral. The safe upper limit for it is 400 micrograms per day in individuals.
Interaction with Other Medications
Selenium can interact with other medicines so, you should be careful with the following combination;
- Medications that slow blood clotting (Anticoagulant drugs) interact with selenium. Selenium may slow blood clotting. Consuming selenium, along with these drugs that also reduce clotting, may elevate the chances of bruising and bleeding.
- Medications utilized for lowering cholesterol (Statins) interact with selenium. Using selenium, beta-carotene, and vitamin E in combination may decrease the efficiency of certain drugs utilized for reducing cholesterol. It is unknown if selenium alone minimizes the efficiency of certain drugs utilized for reducing cholesterol.
- The medicines used to lower cholesterol involve atorvastatin (Lipitor), lovastatin (Mevacor), and pravastatin (Pravachol).
- Consuming selenium, along with vitamin E, and beta-carotene may reduce some of the beneficial effects of niacin. Niacin may enhance good cholesterol. Consuming selenium, along with these other vitamins, may minimize the working of niacin for elevating good cholesterol.
- Sedative medications (Barbiturates) interact with them. Your body breaks down medications to prevent them. Selenium may slow how fast your body breaks down sedative drugs. Consuming it with these medications may increase the impacts and side effects of these drugs.
- Warfarin (Coumadin) also interacts as selenium may lower your blood pressure. It can also enhance the effects of warfarin on your body. Consuming this mineral, along with warfarin, may enhance the chances of bleeding.
Selenium is a critical trace mineral for our body; it means we should get enough of this mineral from the diet on a regular basis through the use of selenium foods. There are plenty of health benefits of selenium due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It is needed for the formation of glutathione, one of the critical antioxidant of your body.
The health benefits include improving cognitive functions, reducing inflammation, maintaining health, and many more that you cannot ignore.
Research recommends that taking foods rich in selenium can help in detoxification and liver function and hormonal and thyroid health. You can also use its supplements after the doctor or physician's recommendation.