Do you need Selenium supplements ?

Selenium deficiency can impair immune function, increase incidence of cancer, cardiovascular and other degenerative diseases as well as overall mortality.

Selenium in human Health and Disease

Selenium is an essential micronutrient found in Brazil nuts, chicken, fish, turkey, crab, nuts, cereal and eggs. Selenium is an “essential nutrient”, meaning our bodies cannot make it, and so we have to get it from our diet. Without it the heart, joints, eyes, immune system and reproductive system can suffer.  We require 55 micrograms of selenium to maintain proper health and this selenium we must obtain through dietary sources.

What is Selenium

Selenium is a non-metal element that occurs in the earth’s crust. Selenium is necessary in the body’s production of selenoproteins.  There are around 25 selenoproteins in humans and many of these are enzymes that act to protect the body against oxidative damage. Since the ageing process, as well as certain diseases, including cancer and cardiovascular disease, is associated with an increase in oxidative damage, maintaining adequate selenium intakes may provide some protection against these processes.

Where is Selenium found

Seafood and organ meats are rich in selenium.

Plants pick up selenium from soil. The selenium content in plant foods depends on the concentration of selenium in the soil where the plants grow.  Seafood and organ meats are rich in selenium. Other foods that have selenium include muscle meats, grains and dairy products. It can also be found in drinking water in some places.

Why selenium levels are low in some people

People living in places where the soil is selenium deficient have low selenium levels. People who smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol often are more likely to have selenium deficiency. Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, or other conditions that interfere with how the body absorbs selenium can lead to low selenium levels. Kidney dialysis patients may also become low in selenium. The chemotherapy drug cisplatin can lower selenium levels in the blood, but it is not known if cisplatin can lead to a significant deficiencies.

Symptoms of Selenium Deficiency

  • Excessive Hair loss
  • Discoloration of the Nails and Skin
  • Fatigue and Tiredness
  • Repeated miscarriages
  • Low immunity

Selenium deficiency leads to…..

Selenium deficiency can impair immune function, increase incidence of cancer, cardiovascular and other degenerative diseases as well as overall mortality. In humans, selenium deficiency can result in Keshan disease, a juvenile cardiomyopathy apparent in the Keshan region in China. In China especially, low selenium intakes have also been reported to be associated with high incidence of hepatitis B virus infections.

Why people take Selenium supplement:

  • Selenium has attracted attention because of its antioxidant properties
  • Selenium supplements in particular are helpful for people with asthma, and reduce the risk of rheumatoid arthritis and cardiovascular disease
  • Selenium can slow the aging process, cognitive decline and dementia 
  • Selenium can slow down the progression of HIV 
  • Selenium can reduce the risk of lung, prostate and colorectal cancers
  • Selenium acts as a powerful protector of the thyroid and regulates the production of reactive oxygen within the gland
  • Selenium can boost fertility. It is required for proper sperm motility and also increases blood flow
  • Dandruff shampoos use selenium sulfide as a topical treatment

Do not consume selenium too much

The human body can tolerate quite high levels of selenium without adverse effects on health. However, at high doses, more than 900 mg selenium/day, selenium can elicit toxic effects collectively termed selenosis, with symptoms including gastrointestinal upset, hair loss, nausea, irritability, fatigue and mild nerve damage.

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18 thoughts on “Do you need Selenium supplements ?

  1. Selenium is no doubt very essential for our health but not much people are aware about it. Thank you for dlsuch a detaiped post, its very educating…!

  2. Thats so essential thing you are discussing in your post. We are not aware about this supplement at all. This is a must know info like. Can you tel me that is this supplement is available to our near store also??

    • You need to take these supplements only if you have deficiency. Sea food and nuts are rich in them. It’s a concern for those who have crohn’s or IBD, Alcoholic etc

  3. Some time it is a necessity to take supplements for health. Glad to knew such detailed review. Great Share.

  4. honestly I have never looked Selenium that seriously prior reading to this post. eating the healthy food subsides the need of Selenium in body I always assumed that but how adulterated food we are eating this shows well in all heath reports.
    well written informative post

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