Importance Of Selenium

Selenium is an essential trace mineral that is mainly derived from soil, water, and plant materials. Humans mainly acquire it from various plant sources, and since it is required for several essential activities, it is considered a non-metal. Although toxic in large quantities, it is necessary for certain cellular functions of animals and people.

  • Toddler: 20mcg/day

  • Children (4 to 8): 30mcg/day

  • Children (9 to 14): 40mcg/day

  • Adults (above 15 years old): 55mcg/day

  • Pregnant women: 60mcg/day

  • Breastfeeding women: 70mcg/day

Food rich in selenium

Vegetarian sources

  • Brazil nuts are the richest source of this mineral discovered so far, mainly because the nut requires no selenium for its own function, but stores large quantities that can be absorbed and utilized by those who eat the nut.

  • Other plant-based sources are spinach, mushrooms, sunflower seeds, and chia seeds.

  • Other good sources are foods made from grains grown in selenium-rich soils, such as cereals, brown rice, white bread, and pasta.


Ocean fish and seafood are among the richest sources. These include halibut, tuna, crabs, rockfish, herring, and lobsters.

Animal products

These include animal kidneys, selenium-rich grass-fed beef, chicken breast, turkey, and eggs

Benefits of selenium

Helps Improve Thyroid Health

According to a 2017 study, the presence of selenium per gram of tissue in the thyroid gland is higher as compared to all organs in the body.

It supports the metabolism in thyroid hormones and therefore maintaining optimal levels of selenium may help to ensure smooth functioning of the thyroid and preventing any thyroid diseases.

Increases Longevity

Selenium-rich foods can help us live a longer and healthier life. This mineral is vital to well-being as it plays a role in improving overall health.

Relieves Asthma Symptoms

A selenium deficiency is considered one of the reasons for asthma, which is why supplementation can be used as a remedy to relieve this respiratory condition.

Enhances Fertility

Selenium is linked with promoting sperm motility and increasing the blood flow in the body. A 2017 research suggests that it could play a role in enhancing sperm health and male fertility.

Antioxidant Properties

  • The antioxidant potential of selenium has been observed to be vital for protecting overall health, as the free radicals in the body can affect you several ways.

  • Free radicals can weaken or kill cells in every organ system, can result in heart diseases, kidney malfunction, digestive issues, metabolic syndrome, hormonal imbalance, and premature aging.

  • The antioxidant properties of selenium could prove beneficial in protecting against oxidative stress and keep such health issues at bay.

Anti-aging Potential

Selenium acts as an antioxidant and stimulates the creation of more antioxidants, thereby helping to fight off the free radicals in the body.

These free radicals are associated with the aging process and are one of the primary causes of wrinkles, age spots, loose skin, weakened muscles, and a generally older appearance.

Improves Mental Health & Mood

Cognitive decline has been associated with free radical activity in the neural cortex, destroying pathways and inhibiting the proper functioning of nerve impulses.

As per studies, selenium can help prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s and improve mental health and overall mood by neutralizing free radicals before they can affect you.

Treats Kashin-Beck Disease

  • The Kashin-Beck disease is a heart-related condition, which affects a wide swath of the population, especially where the regular diet has low selenium content.

  • This is perhaps the most serious and noticeable effect of a selenium deficiency, and it is characterized by the death of cartilage cells and retardation of growth, often resulting in osteoarthritis at a young age.

  • Symptoms include joint pain, stiffness, lack of flexibility, and low range of motion, basically crippling those with severe cases.

  • This deficiency is not the only cause of Kashin-Beck, but it is certainly one of the major causes.

Improves Heart Health

Selenium works as a blood thinner, which reduces the chances of blood clots, and it is also shown to reduce the amount of LDL cholesterol that builds up as plaque in the arteries and blood vessels.

That plaque can lead to atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes, so it is a powerful booster for your overall heart health for a number of reasons.

Hair Care

Although research is still being done on this condition, it is believed that good selenium content can reduce hair loss and the excessive dry scalp that results in dandruff.

In a study cited in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, selenium sulfide shampoo was found to be effective in the treatment of moderate to severe dandruff.

Symptoms of selenium deficiency

Selenium toxicity is just as dangerous as a deficiency, so be careful. Symptoms of toxicity include the following

  • Bad breath

  • Gastrointestinal disorders

  • Fever

  • Nausea

  • Kidney problems

  • Fatigue

  • Irritability

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Cirrhosis of the liver

  • Pulmonary edema, and even death

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