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Selenium | health benefits | symptoms of deficiency

Basic characteristics of selenium

Selenium is a microelement, that is essential for the organism, and it must be taken daily with food. The characteristic of selenium is that the daily needs are very small.

Name selenium comes from the Greek word for Moon goddess - Selena, and its discovery is attributed to scientist Paracelsus, who discovered this important mineral 1781.

The concentration of selenium that is found in plants that are used as food, influences on the level of selenium in the soil

Today is present globally less selenium in the crust of the planet earth, which consequently affects the reduced incorporation of selenium in plants, which are food for humans and animals.

It is also shown that excessive use of artificial inorganic fertilizers, in order to bigger yields, leading to a reduction of selenium in the soil. For this reason, it resorted to organic farming with natural fertilizers originating from animals, in order to preserve the precious selenium in the soil.

The presence of selenium in food

We have already noted that the concentration of selenium depends on the soil type. That is why the presence of selenium in plants is very little and doesn't fully meeting the daily requirement for selenium.

From plant species, as a relatively good sources of selenium are taken cereals (whole grain), sunflower seeds, wheat germ, brewer's yeast, garlic.

One very positive and encouraging fact is that only one Brazil nut contains a daily dose of selenium necessary for the functioning of the organism. The Brazil nut is a mine of mineral selenium.

One very positive and encouraging fact is that only one Brazil nut contains a daily dose of selenium necessary for the functioning of the organism. The Brazil nut is a mine of mineral selenium.

Also date palm is an excellent source of selenium, and knowing that, it should be consumed as often.

Of the remaining fruit, selenium is present in the dry grapes, berries, mushrooms and some in bananas.

Foods of animal origin which contain selenium are meat of animals fed in natural conditions in the open pastures, and animal offal, seafood, crabs.

A daily dose of selenium is very small and ranges from 55 micrograms for women and 70 micrograms for men.

If you opt for supplements of selenium in combination with other minerals and vitamins, pay attention to the composition - the organic form of selenium in the form of selenium-methionine is the only exploitable manner.

Health Benefits of selenium

1. Selenium is a powerful antioxidant, and it usually works in conjunction with vitamin E, which is also registered as a great protector of the body from oxidation and the formation of harmful free radicals that damage cells and lead to a series of pathological changes.

2. Protects body against infection, harmful agents, heavy metals and microbes. Selenium owns property that enhances the immune response during infection by affecting the synthesis of antibodies.

3. Since the most important role of selenium is regular muscle work, because in them is find most, selenium is also important in the work of the heart muscle, preventing closure of blood vessels and the creation of atherosclerosis, a condition in which the blood vessels are damaged and subject to change. In this way, selenium is a protector of the heart and blood vessels and prevents heart disease and infections.

4. People with HIV are people who have really poor immunity, and they're subject to various infections. Selenium is used as a supplement for people with HIV, to the enhancement of immune response and prevention of infections.

5. Selenium is a mineral that is present a lot in sperm cells and is responsible for their mobility and quality. Each selenium deficiency will be reflected negatively on fertility and impotence.

6. Studies have shown a positive effect of selenium on the mental state in humans – experimental group were given daily doses of selenium through a couple of weeks and the final result came to the positive results in terms of improved mood, stress reduction, increased energy, and the reduction of tension and depression.

7. Due to the presence of antioxidants, selenium fights against aging factors, most often in combination with vitamin E.

8. Anticancer properties of selenium are still under investigation, but the results of selenium effects on the prevention of breast cancer, colon cancer, and prostate are very positive.

9. Selenium is important for the function of the thyroid gland, and for the synthesis of iodine which is important in metabolism. In people with hypothyroidism, it was determined the decreased levels of selenium in the blood.

Deficit of selenium

Obvious symptoms of selenium have not been established, and it is not possible to identify a lack of selenium through external symptoms.

Groups at risk for the occurrence of selenium deficiency are smokers, alcoholics, people exposed to radiation, and women who use the pill.

People who have some degenerative changes in the muscles (muscular dystrophy and muscle degeneration) are subject to a deficit of selenium.

Whether selenium can be overdosed?

As a result of taking excessive doses of selenium can be produce toxic effects, which were first found in China and labelled as selenosis

It was characterized by changes in the skin and nails, dental caries, as well as non-specific of gastrointestinal and neurological disorders.


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