Selenium, an essential mineral that is extremely beneficial and vital for human health, plays an important role in relevant processes in the body. In this article we list all the benefits of selenium and the richest sources of this mineral.
Little is said about the benefits of selenium, but the value of this mineral for the human body is enormous. Selenium regulates the functioning of the thyroid gland and metabolic processes, strengthens the immune system, helps fight cancer, supports heart and brain health, the reproductive system, and performs a number of other functions.
To replenish selenium reserves, it is enough to include foods rich in minerals in the diet.
Selenium plays an important role in the human body, positively influencing biochemical processes and reactions. It is indispensable for the heart, immunity, reproductive organs, the thyroid gland. It is also beneficial for the eyes, skin and hair.
Health benefits of selenium
The body cannot make selenium on its own, so it must be obtained through the diet. High-quality supplements can also be taken, but anyone already trying to eat a healthy diet with little processed foods can maintain their selenium levels through dietary sources alone.
1. Protects against heart disease
Studies have shown that increasing the concentration of selenium in the body by 50 percent reduces the risk of heart disease by 24 percent. Researchers believe that this mineral has a particularly great anti-inflammatory effect.
Intracorporeal inflammation is a risk factor for coronary heart disease. Selenium is known to successfully lower serum C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of inflammation.
Reviews show that this essential mineral also increases levels of a powerful antioxidant called glutathione peroxidase. Selenium not only reduces markers of inflammation, but can also alleviate oxidative stress.
2. Boost immunity
Selenium’s ability to reduce oxidative damage does more than just improve heart health. Reducing oxidative stress in the body reduces inflammation and strengthens the immune system. Selenium strengthens Th1-type immunity, which is the body’s defense against intracellular viruses and bacteria.
3. Prevents Free Radical Damage
By acting as an antioxidant, selenium can balance free radicals in the body and prevent cell damage that can be caused by oxidative stress. Free radicals are natural byproducts of certain essential processes in the body, such as metabolism. But external sources, such as pollution and cigarette smoke, can also produce free radicals.
4. Promotes brain health
Diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis are neurological conditions associated with oxidative stress. Selenium can reduce oxidative damage and therefore reduce the risk of these diseases and protect your cognitive health. And Alzheimer’s patients have been found to have low levels of selenium, as well as other nutrients like vitamin C and vitamin E.
5. Improves thyroid health
This small but mighty part of the body has the highest concentration of selenium of all tissues. The thyroid participates in all body processes by releasing thyroid hormones. This butterfly-shaped gland in the front of the neck also supports healthy growth and development.
Low levels of selenium can trigger thyroid disease and cause hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, an autoimmune disease in which the body attacks the thyroid gland. But higher selenium intake can benefit people with any type of thyroid disease.
6. It can be preventive against various types of cancer
Selenium is known to reduce the risk of cancer. Selenium has been shown to reduce DNA damage and oxidative stress, both of which are associated with cancer risk. Research has shown that high levels of selenium in the blood can reduce the risk of several types of cancer, including lung cancer, breast cancer, and especially prostate cancer.
7. Ally in the fight against asthma
Allergic asthma, the most common type of asthma, is basically a chronic inflammatory disease. The anti-inflammatory effects of selenium may help reduce asthma symptoms. Studies have shown that selenium intake can be significant as part of asthma control, depending on a person’s starting selenium level. Adding this mineral appears to be more effective when blood selenium is low.
8. Improves skin health
Selenium, along with vitamin E, is used to treat acne, psoriasis, and other skin problems. These benefits are achieved thanks to the antioxidant effect of the mineral and the elimination of inflammation.
Selenium daily requirement
For most people, getting enough selenium is as simple as making sure there are selenium-rich foods in your daily or weekly diet. You don’t even need to eat sources of this mineral every day to raise low selenium levels.
Common foods like meat, shellfish, chicken, eggs, mushrooms, and dairy products are good sources of selenium. However, some people may need dietary supplements to raise or maintain their selenium level.
Supplements may contain various forms of selenium. Although short-term high doses may be necessary to correct a selenium deficiency, they should always be supervised by a specialist, as selenium toxicity can be dangerous.