Top 10 Selenium Benefits
A strong immune system is always a major plus no matter what. And sure, there are a lot of ways to achieve the highest possible ideal condition of our immune system. From regular exercise to a healthy lifestyle down to a diet filled with necessary nutrients. But one mineral should never be left out in this conversation, as it offers advantages too critical to turning down: selenium. Selenium deficiency is a serious health issue some may tend to overlook. While selenium consumption varies across different geographies, maintaining an optimal level of selenium in the blood is of utmost essential.
Now, what is selenium? Discovered by a Swedish chemist named Berzelius in 1817 and well thought out as a toxin up until 1957, selenium now is known as a powerful trace mineral that offers a lot of benefits. In general, selenium serves as anti-inflammatory agent and antioxidant that fights off free radicals—a discussion we will thoroughly discuss later on, in which you will discover the wide array of benefits it provides. Listed down below are 10 selenium benefits to further convince you of its magnitude. You can get this amazing mineral from vegetables, fruits, protein-rich foods like eggs and poultry, fishes, cereals, and dairy products. Easily available, eh?
The first thing we should talk about in the “selenium benefits” discussion is probably one of, if not the, most important: of it being an immunity booster. Obviously, since the immune system is your body’s first defense against various health issues, it wouldn’t be able to do its duties if it isn’t strong enough. By stimulating the production of white blood cells and other antibodies, and sustaining an optimal cell condition by preventing stress on cells, selenium aids in the destruction of tumor cells and slows down viral progressions.
Take diabetes for example. The necessary level of insulin among patients with diabetes can be supplemented by selenium. It also lessens oxidative stress which can aid diabetes-related conditions like neuropathy and cataracts. Selenium’s ability to counteract virus development is even more important in HIV, where it can slow down the virus’ replication and development into AIDS and in the infected cells. In fact, those with selenium deficiency are roughly 20 times more likely to succumb to HIV-related diseases.
Selenium as a Detoxifier
In our fast-paced world where we mostly rely on processed foods out of convenience, we can’t help but allow toxins to build up inside our body. This makes detoxifying imperative even for once in a while to prevent bringing further damage to our organs like the liver. Together with omega-3 and other minerals found especially in seafood, selenium can help maintain a harmful fatty acid and toxic free body.
We will have a fair amount of free radical discussion here so it should be noted first how these cancerous cells can generate an environment in your body so acidic bad cells will keep on replicating. Good thing one of the selenium benefits is how it effectively fights off free radicals, along with other body pollutants like heavy metals, and guards against oxidative stress in the cells, preventing vexing diseases like cancer as a result.
One major reason for a speeded-up aging process in the body is the damage in the DNA. This damage is usually prevented by various mechanisms happening inside your body during the years of your youth. This, however, starts to weaken when you age, thus explaining why chronic diseases seem to go with aging. Now the selenium benefits come in by stimulating the body’s protective system—an enzyme family called glutathione peroxidase whose key function sets it against oxidative stress and damage. By acting as an antioxidant that helps neutralize free radicals, selenium, especially if partnered with vitamin E, can further prevent cellular aging.
As you will read on, you will discover that selenium benefits cover a wide range of health issues. From cancer to heart health and to the brain. A proper selenium consumption, aside from decreasing the risk these diseases pose, helps enhance longevity in the general sense. Hence, it’s better to have your blood selenium level checked now so you can start with any supplementation that best fits you.
Cancer in liver, colorectal, lungs, prostate, and skin. Reducing the risk of acquiring these serious illnesses is among the best selenium benefits. This is done by being a central part of the enzymes that fight off free radical cell cycle, protecting your cells from these unstable molecules that can lead them to be cancerous. This is all the more reinforced by recycling antioxidants like vitamin E to help in the battle. It also impedes with carcinogenic cells growth by guarding the body against harmful metals like cadmium, mercury, and silver.
This cell mutation that can lead to the progression of cancer is furthermore handled by safeguarding the DNA within the cells. Overall, the risk of oesophageal and gastric cancers is reduced in half while prostate cancer, along with polyp growth in the colon, is similarly decreased. It’s been studied in various scientific studies that an increase in cancer risk is directly proportional to a deficiency in the selenium level.
Low selenium concentration and thyroid metabolism have been scientifically linked together. And knowing that this endocrine gland acting as a general operating system that supplies hormones vital to practically every organ in the body will likely make you reevaluate its importance to your diet. By serving as a catalytic agent for the synthesis and maintenance of thyroid-related hormones, selenium benefits comprise significant bodily functions like metabolism, energy levels, temperature, appetite, and sleep just to name a few. It is also worth noting that the highest concentration of selenium per gram of tissue is in the thyroid.
What should be remembered also is that selenium must work with iodine as the deficiency of both nutrients can bring oxidative damage to your thyroid? Moreover, even with a normal iodine level, the thyroid can still be damaged with selenium deficiency; as it cleans up free radicals from the hormone syntheses ensured by iodine. Suppression of thyroid’s function is also bound to happen vice versa, i.e. supplementing selenium with iodine deficits. It is thus important to have your levels of these nutrients checked before pushing plans forward.
Our heart greatly takes advantage of the selenium benefits. The risk of heart and other cardiovascular diseases such as coronary heart disease and hypertension, usually due to excessive amounts of fats, can also be linked down to inadequate selenium level. Thanks to selenium’s beneficial effects in fighting free radicals and reducing cholesterol oxidation while normalizing cholesterol levels (especially when partnered with vitamin E and beta-carotene), enhancing blood circulation and preventing blood clotting, and warding off inflammation, preventive measures can be taken.
Various studies have also shown that a deficiency in selenium can become a contributing factor for cardiomyopathy. In this condition, the heart muscles become inflamed, rigid, and thick, disabling the heart to efficiently deliver blood throughout the body.
One of the selenium benefits for men’s reproductive health is its ability to boost, not only the formation of sperms but also its mobility, thus increasing its chance for egg fertilization. It should be remembered though that a normal level—not too low and neither too high—is essential for the sperms’ number, behavior, and function especially while they travel via the vaginal canal; as a suboptimal level can have a negative impact. Increasing blood flow also makes selenium valuably required particularly in infertility issue.
While there isn’t enough research devotion to women, as it focuses more on men’s reproductive conditions, selenium can also aid in subsiding miscarriage risk, aside of course from addressing women’s infertility as well. In fact, those who underwent miscarriage during the first-trimester may have a selenium deficiency. It also has a beneficial effect on fetal growth and birth defects.
Psychological and Mental Health
Abnormal mood swings. Debilitating anxiety. Depression. These are just among the most common psychological disorders affecting mental health and the overall well-being in turn. It can mostly be attributed to a poor coping mechanism, distress, mental and environmental pressures, and even unbalanced diet including selenium deficiency, in which neurotransmitters do not quickly and properly run. Multiple studies have revealed that selenium benefits include helping lessen anxiety and depression.
Alzheimer’s disease, on one hand, is a mental illness characterized by memory loss and deterioration in cognition and behavior. Numerous studies have shown that not only is selenium deficiency connected to the disease, it can also aid in improving patient’s memory, specifically verbal fluency and other mental functioning in those with mild cognitive impairment. Even the risk of developing one can be reduced with a selenium-rich dietary program. Alzheimer’s is a degenerative disease though, which means it worsens through time. This makes prevention really
If you experience recurrent periods of chest tightness, coughing, and shortness of breathing which is usually accompanied by a whistling sound or wheezing, you probably have asthma. It is a long-term or chronic lung illness where the airways narrow down and become inflamed. Selenium’s free radical fighting ability and anti-inflammatory properties can help ease the symptoms of asthma especially since it is linked to an increase in oxidative stress level and body inflammation. A certain study even showed that a high level of selenium in the blood helps asthmatic patients to have a better respiratory function than those with low level. Though more research still needs to be done, selenium benefits and potential as a supplementation for chronic asthma cannot really be denied.
Hair and Skin Care
As stated above, selenium benefits include preventing cell damage by neutralizing free radicals and increasing the antioxidant level to help prevent pores from getting blocked, averting acne breakouts. What makes it further effective in skin care is its ability, together with vitamin E, to maintain the cell membranes that coats and provides protection to the cells. So instead of using skin care products to treat acne and other skin problems, which could potentially damage the skin’s delicateness with its harsh chemicals, try modifying your daily food consumptions by incorporating selenium in your diet. This is along with other nutrients proven to be beneficial for the skin like zinc and vitamin A. As for your hair, selenium benefits cover hair growth and hair loss by activating an enzyme vital not only for the regeneration of essential antioxidants but also in the regulation of cells health. It also kills off a yeast-like fungus called Malassezia that irritates the scalp and causes extra skin cells to develop and die in its flaky and white form, thus reducing dandruff in the process. You can see selenium as an ingredient in most anti-dandruff shampoos.
Knowing all these selenium benefits now after reading should move you to never forget to slot in this precious mineral into your diet. So if you’re suspecting something’s off in your body, now would be the time to take it all in and gain the advantages discussed above.