Selenium – Benefits, Deficiency Symptoms And Food Sources


Acid/Alkaline :: Acid -forming

What is Selenium?

In the 1990s there was a great deal of heightened interest generated in a comparatively little known trace mineral named Selenium. Nearly all of the selenium in animal tissue is found in the proteins. Some of these proteins contain stoichiometric quantities of selenium and are known as selenoproteins. Other proteins contain variable amounts of selenium (which substitutes sulfur randomly in the original protein) and are known as selenium-binding proteins. Selenium plays a vital role in regulating the effects of thyroid hormone on fat metabolism . It has also been found to function as a preventive against the formation of certain types of tumors. One study found that men who took 200 micrograms of selenium daily over a ten-year period had roughly half the risk of developing lung, prostate, and colorectal cancer as compared with men who did not.

Uses and Benefits of Selenium

  • The most important known function of selenium is as a component of the antioxidant enzyme glutathione peroxidase.
  • Selenium is a co-factor in an enzyme that protects body tissues (especially cell membranes) from oxidation by unstable free radicals.
  • Selenium also works closely with the antioxidant vitamin E.
  • Protects all membranes, reduces risk of cancer, enhances immune system, antioxidant.
  • Guard against cataracts and macular degeneration.
  • In recent years, laboratory experiments, clinical trials and epidemiological data have established the role of selenium in the prevention of a number of degenerative conditions including cancer, inflammatory diseases, cardiovascular disease, neurological diseases, aging, and infections.

Recommended Dosage of Selenium

The Recommended Dosage for Selenium are :-

  • Men – 70 mcg.
  • Women – 55 mcg.

Deficiency Symptoms of Selenium

  • Muscle weakness, linked to cancer and heart disease, fatigue, dandruff, loose skin, growth retardation, elevated cholesterol levels, susceptibility to infection, sterility, and liver damage.
  • Down’s Syndrome, fibrocystic breast disease, Cystic Fibrosis, Muscular Dystrophy.
  • Gastrointestinal disorders.

Toxicity: May include “garlic” breath, loss of hair, fingernails and toenails, irritability, liver and kidney impairment, metallic taste in mouth, dermatitis and jaundice. Large overdoses can cause death.

Rich Food Sources of Selenium

Kelp/dulse, garlic, mushrooms, organic vegetables, grains, broccoli, onions, brazil nuts. Herbs that contain selenium include alfalfa, burdock root, catnip, cayenne, chamomile, chickweed, fennel seed, fenugreek.

Toxic sources: Soil. Also, the refining of flour re­moves much of the selenium that is concentrated in the germ and bran. It is important to eat whole-grain products, since the selenium is not added back into “enriched” flour.

Useful References

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