7 Science-Primarily based Well being Advantages of Selenium

Although you might have by no means heard of selenium, this superb nutrient is significant to your well being.

Selenium is a vital mineral, which means it should be obtained by way of your food regimen.

It’s solely wanted in small quantities however performs a significant function in necessary processes in your physique, together with your metabolism and thyroid operate.

This text outlines 7 well being advantages of selenium, all backed by science.

1. Acts as a strong antioxidant

Antioxidants are compounds in meals that stop cell harm brought on by free radicals.

Free radicals are regular byproducts of processes like metabolism which can be fashioned in your physique each day.

They typically get a nasty rap, however free radicals are important in your well being. They carry out necessary features, together with defending your physique from illness.

Nonetheless, issues like smoking, alcohol use, and stress could cause an extra of free radicals. This results in oxidative stress, which damages wholesome cells (1).

Oxidative stress has been linked to continual circumstances like coronary heart illness, Alzheimer’s, and most cancers, in addition to untimely getting older and the chance of stroke (2, 3, 4, 5, 6).

Antioxidants like selenium assist cut back oxidative stress by protecting free radical numbers in verify (7).

They work by neutralizing extra free radicals and defending cells from harm brought on by oxidative stress.

Abstract Selenium is a strong antioxidant that fights oxidative stress and helps defend your physique from continual circumstances, equivalent to coronary heart illness and most cancers.

2. Might cut back your threat of sure cancers

Along with reducing oxidative stress, selenium might assist decrease the chance of sure cancers.

This has been attributed to selenium’s capability to cut back DNA harm and oxidative stress, increase your immune system, and destroy most cancers cells (8).

A evaluation of 69 research that included over 350,000 individuals discovered that having a excessive blood stage of selenium was related to a decrease threat of sure kinds of most cancers, together with breast, lung, colon, and prostate cancers (9).

It’s necessary to notice that this impact was solely related to selenium obtained by way of meals, not dietary supplements.

Nonetheless, some analysis means that supplementing with selenium might cut back negative effects in individuals present process radiation remedy.

For instance, one research discovered that oral selenium dietary supplements improved total high quality of life and lowered radiation-induced diarrhea in girls with cervical and uterine most cancers (10).

Abstract Increased blood ranges of selenium might shield towards sure cancers, whereas supplementing with selenium might assist enhance high quality of life in individuals present process radiation remedy.

3. Might shield towards coronary heart illness

A food regimen wealthy in selenium might assist maintain your coronary heart wholesome, as low selenium ranges have been linked to an elevated threat of coronary heart illness.

In an evaluation of 25 observational research, a 50% enhance in blood selenium ranges was related to a 24% discount within the threat of coronary heart illness (11).

Selenium might also decrease markers of irritation in your physique⁠ — one of many primary threat components for coronary heart illness.

For instance, a evaluation of 16 managed research together with over 433,000 individuals with coronary heart illness confirmed that taking selenium dietary supplements decreased ranges of the inflammatory marker C-reactive protein (CRP).

Moreover, it elevated ranges of glutathione peroxidase, a strong antioxidant (12).

This means that selenium might assist decrease coronary heart illness threat by decreasing irritation and oxidative stress in your physique. Oxidative stress and irritation have been linked to atherosclerosis, or the buildup of plaque in arteries.

Atherosclerosis can result in harmful well being issues like strokes, coronary heart assaults, and coronary heart illness (13).

Incorporating selenium-rich meals into your food regimen is an effective way to maintain ranges of oxidative stress and irritation to a minimal.

Abstract Selenium might assist maintain your coronary heart wholesome by protecting oxidative stress in verify and decreasing your threat of coronary heart illness.

4. Helps stop psychological decline

Alzheimer’s illness is a devastating situation that causes reminiscence loss and negatively impacts considering and conduct. It’s the sixth-leading reason behind loss of life in america.

The variety of individuals with Alzheimer’s illness is rising. Thus, discovering methods to forestall this degenerative illness is crucial.

Oxidative stress is believed to be concerned in each the onset and development of neurological illnesses like Parkinson’s, a number of sclerosis, and Alzheimer’s (14).

A number of research have proven that sufferers with Alzheimer’s illness have decrease blood ranges of selenium (15, 16).

Moreover, some research have discovered that antioxidants in each meals and dietary supplements might enhance reminiscence in sufferers with Alzheimer’s (17).

One small research discovered that supplementing with one selenium-rich Brazil nut per day improved verbal fluency and different psychological features in sufferers with gentle cognitive impairment (18).

What’s extra, the Mediterranean food regimen, which is wealthy in high-selenium meals like seafood and nuts, has been related to a decrease threat of creating Alzheimer’s illness (19, 20).

Abstract A food regimen wealthy in selenium might assist stop psychological decline and enhance reminiscence loss in individuals with Alzheimer’s illness.

5. Is necessary for thyroid well being

Selenium is necessary for the correct functioning of your thyroid gland. Actually, thyroid tissue accommodates the next quantity of selenium than another organ within the human physique (21).

This highly effective mineral helps shield the thyroid towards oxidative harm and performs a vital function within the manufacturing of thyroid hormones.

A wholesome thyroid gland is necessary, because it regulates your metabolism and controls development and improvement (22).

Selenium deficiency has been related to thyroid circumstances like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, a sort of hypothyroidism through which the immune system assaults the thyroid gland.

An observational research together with over 6,000 individuals discovered that low serum ranges of selenium had been related to an elevated threat of autoimmune thyroiditis and hypothyroidism (23).

Moreover, some research have proven that selenium dietary supplements might profit individuals with Hashimoto’s illness.

One evaluation concluded that taking selenium dietary supplements each day for 3 months resulted in decrease thyroid antibodies. It additionally led to enhancements in temper and common well-being in these with Hashimoto’s illness (24).

Nonetheless, extra analysis is required earlier than selenium dietary supplements might be really useful for these with Hashimoto’s illness.

Abstract Selenium protects the thyroid gland from oxidative stress and is important for thyroid hormone manufacturing. Selenium might assist individuals with Hashimoto’s illness and different kinds of thyroid illness, however extra analysis is required.

6. Boosts your immune system

Your immune system retains your physique wholesome by figuring out and combating off potential threats. These embrace micro organism, viruses, and parasites.

Selenium performs an necessary function within the well being of your immune system. This antioxidant helps decrease oxidative stress in your physique, which reduces irritation and enhances immunity.

Research have demonstrated that elevated blood ranges of selenium are related to enhanced immune response.

However, deficiency has been proven to hurt immune cell operate and will result in a slower immune response (25).

Research have additionally related deficiency with an elevated threat of loss of life and illness development in individuals with HIV, whereas dietary supplements have been proven to result in fewer hospitalizations and an enchancment in signs for these sufferers (26).

Moreover, selenium dietary supplements might assist strengthen the immune system in individuals with influenza, tuberculosis, and hepatitis C (27).

Abstract Selenium is essential for the well being and correct functioning of your immune system. Increased ranges of selenium might assist increase the immune techniques of individuals with HIV, influenza, tuberculosis, and hepatitis C.

7. Might assist cut back bronchial asthma signs

Bronchial asthma is a continual illness that impacts the airways that carry air out and in of the lungs.

These airways grow to be infected and start to slim, inflicting signs like wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and coughing (28).

Bronchial asthma has been related to elevated ranges of oxidative stress and irritation within the physique (29).

Resulting from selenium’s capability to cut back irritation, some research recommend that this mineral might assist cut back asthma-related signs.

Analysis means that individuals who have bronchial asthma have decrease blood ranges of selenium.

Actually, one research confirmed that asthmatic sufferers with increased ranges of blood selenium had higher lung operate than these with decrease ranges (30).

Selenium dietary supplements might also assist cut back asthma-related signs.

For instance, one research discovered that giving individuals with bronchial asthma 200 mcg of selenium per day lowered their use of the corticosteroid medicines used to manage their signs (31).

Nonetheless, analysis on this space is conflicting, and bigger research are wanted to totally perceive selenium’s function within the improvement and remedy of bronchial asthma (32).

Abstract Selenium might profit individuals with bronchial asthma because of its capability to decrease irritation within the physique. Nonetheless, extra analysis is required.

Finest dietary sources of selenium

Happily, many wholesome meals are excessive in selenium.

The next meals are nice sources (33), (34):

  • Oysters: 238% of the DV in Three ounces (85 grams)
  • Brazil nuts: 174% of the DV in a single nut (5 grams)
  • Halibut: 171% of the DV in 6 ounces (159 grams)
  • Yellowfin tuna: 167% of the DV in Three ounces (85 grams)
  • Eggs: 56% of the DV in 2 massive eggs (100 grams)
  • Sardines: 46% of the DV in Four sardines (48 grams)
  • Sunflower seeds: 27% of the DV in 1 ounce (28 grams)
  • Rooster breast: 12% of the DV in Four slices (84 grams)
  • Shiitake mushrooms: 10% of the DV in 1 cup (97 grams)

The quantity of selenium in plant-based meals varies relying on the selenium content material of the soil through which they had been grown.

Thus, selenium concentrations in crops rely largely on the place they’re farmed.

For instance, one research confirmed that the selenium focus in Brazil nuts different broadly by area. Whereas a single Brazil nut from one area offered as much as 288% of the really useful consumption, others offered solely 11% (35).

Due to this fact, it’s necessary to eat a different food regimen that features multiple good supply of this necessary mineral.

AbstractMeals wealthy in selenium embrace seafood, nuts, and mushrooms. It’s necessary to eat a wide range of meals that include this mineral, as selenium content material can range relying on rising circumstances.

Risks of extreme selenium consumption

Though selenium is important for good well being, getting an excessive amount of might be harmful. Actually, consuming excessive doses of selenium might be poisonous and even deadly.

Whereas selenium toxicity is uncommon, it’s necessary to remain near the really useful quantity of 55 mcg per day and by no means exceed the tolerable higher restrict of 400 mcg per day (36).

Brazil nuts include a really excessive quantity of selenium. Consuming too many may result in selenium toxicity.

Nonetheless, toxicity is extra more likely to occur from taking dietary supplements somewhat than consuming selenium-containing meals.

Indicators of selenium toxicity embrace:

  • hair loss
  • dizziness
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • facial flushing
  • tremors
  • muscle soreness

In extreme instances, acute selenium toxicity can result in critical intestinal and neurological signs, coronary heart assault, kidney failure, and loss of life (37).

AbstractWhereas selenium toxicity is uncommon, overconsumption of this mineral by way of food regimen or dietary supplements can have harmful negative effects.

The underside line

Selenium is a strong mineral that’s important for the correct functioning of your physique.

It performs a vital function in metabolism and thyroid operate and helps shield your physique from harm brought on by oxidative stress.

What’s extra, selenium might assist increase your immune system, gradual age-related psychological decline, and even cut back your threat of coronary heart illness.

This micronutrient might be present in all kinds of meals, from oysters to mushrooms to Brazil nuts.

Including extra selenium-rich meals to your food regimen is a wonderful technique to preserve good well being.

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