Selenium is an essential micronutrient in all known forms of life; it is a component of the unusual amino acid selenocysteine.
Selenium has antioxidant properties (prevents peroxidation of lipids in the cells). Selenium - a essential component of the enzyme glutathione peroxidase.
Selenium contributes to efficiency of the immune system.
Selenium plays a vital role in regulating the effects of thyroid hormone on fat metabolism.
Food Sources of Selenium
Good sources includes Egg yolk;
Selenium can be found in meat and grains, depending on the selenium content of the soil where the food is raised. Because New Zealand soils are low in selenium, cattle and sheep raised there have suffered a breakdown of muscle tissue, including the heart muscle.
Selenium, the trace element, found naturally in different foods, contains lot to offer in the health and welness space, similar to vitamins and other important minerals. According the research done on different animal subjecrs, Selenium could be your most potent ally against cancer. It is found in foods like nuts and liver. Nearly 100% of the selenium found in animal tissue is present in the protiens. Many of these proteins found in animal tisses contain stoichiometric quantities of selenium. Hence they are also known as selenoproteins.
How Selenium can help?
Selenium, as discovered from a comprehensive study of about 20 years on different animals, can reduce the risk of cancer in several organs. The study is till recently conducted on animal subjects and much less is known about the cancer related advantages of selenium in humans.
Although the benefits of Selenium in animals was known since long, recently in the laboratory experiments, clinical trials and epidemiological data, the beenfits of selenium in humans has been estblished. It has been proved that Selenium can have a major role in preventing number of degenerative conditions such as cancer, inflammatory diseases, heart diseases, neurological diseases, aging, and infections to name a few. Antioxidant enzyme systems is the area where Selenium shows its effects.
Some natural Sources of Selenium
Natural food sources which are high in selenium mineral are as follows:
- cereals (such as corn, wheat, and rice)
- nuts (brazil nuts and walnuts)
- legumes (soybeans)
- animal products (beef, chicken, egg, cheese)
- seafood (tuna)
- Brazil nuts are among the very rich sources of selenium
Medical Benefits of Selenium
According to a very recent study Selenium is reported to reproduce the same action as produced by insulin in human body. It follows the actions such as stimulating glucose uptake and regulating metabolic processes. It also performs glycolysis, gluconeogenesis, fatty acid synthesis and the pentose phosphate pathway.
Selenium is also shown to help reduce the oxidative stress associated with diabetes. It is also postulated that this can further reduce the impact or side effects of diabetes in the form of neuropathy, retinopathy and cataracts. Here is the list of some of the benefits of Selenium:
Use of Selenium for Cystic fibrosis patients have yielded indeterminate results. Dandruff - Selenium-containing shampoos helps in dandruff a lot. Hence there are lot of many anti-dandruff products today which has Selenium. It makes efficient use of oxygen. It converts hydrogen peroxide into water. It works as a potent antioxidant. It gels well with many toxic substances and binds. Once attached, the toxic substances lose their potency and a reduction in toxicity is seen.
It reduces the risk of arterial deposits which further ensures smooth flow of blood. It helps for healthy cardio vascular system. It supports cancer prevention attributed to detoxification activities and anti-oxidant nature. For a healthy immune system, selenium is very important. It can improve the immune system by about twenty to thirty times if taken in the right quantity and nature. Selenium helps for thyroid gland function.
Inadequate level of Selenium in diet leads to decreased sexual desires. Deficiency of Selenium can accelerate your aging process. Selenium supplementation was studied to reduce the severity of epileptic seizures in children. It is also reported to improve confused and depressed mental states; mental fatigue and anxiety in adult. When associated with vitamin E, Selenium shows some anti-inflammatory benefits as well, henc they can help in rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, lupus, and eczema.
Side effects of Selenium overdose
Although Selenium is considered harmless mineral but still too much of intake can become dangerous. Following are the side effects of selenium.
- Weigh Loss
- Garlic-like odor
- Redness on the face
- Cardiac Arrest
- Metal-like taste in the mouth
- Hair Loss
- Muscle Tenderness
- Hair and nail brittleness
- Abdominal pain
- Allergic reactions
Benefits and Functions of Selenium
Selenium is a powerful antioxidant mineral and is found in all tissues of the body. It has a protective effect against oxidative damage to body cells, particularly the heart. The body only needs a small amount of Selenium but due to diminishing levels in soils and foods, deficiencies are increasingly common. Selenium deficiency has been linked to a range of serious conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, inflammatory diseases and other free radical related problems such as premature ageing.
You should be able to get all the selenium you need from your daily diet. This is:
0.075 mg a day for men
0.06 mg a day for women. Taking 0.35 mg or less a day of selenium supplements is unlikely to cause any harm.
What are the deficiency symptoms of Selenium?
Deficiency may lead to:
Kaschin-Beck disease (affects the cartilage at joints).
Overdosage Signs of Selenium
Too much selenium causes selenosis, a condition that in its mildest form can lead to loss of hair, skin and nails. Excessive intake can lead to selenium poisoning.