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26 June 2023

Selenium: Protecting Cells, Boosting Immunity, and Supporting Thyroid Function

Selenium is an important trace mineral with many important benefits for our health. It is an essential part of many enzyme systems, and its main role in the body is to help protect cells from damage, boost the body’s immunity, and support the functioning of the thyroid. Selenium can be found in a variety of foods, and its recommended dosage is dependent on age and gender. Read on to learn more about the nutritional element of selenium and the various benefits it offers.


The Benefits


Selenium is a trace mineral found in certain foods that can have a powerful effect on various aspects of your health. It is a powerful antioxidant that can help protect your cells from damage from free radicals, boost immunity, and support thyroid function. It plays a role in the metabolism of other essential minerals.


Studies have shown that increasing your intake of selenium can reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease, chronic inflammation, and other diseases. Selenium may also help reduce the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation therapy. It has been linked to improved cognitive function and better mood, and it may also help reduce the severity of asthma.


Signs of Deficiency


Selenium deficiency is rare, but it can cause a range of symptoms. Common signs of a deficiency include fatigue, weak immune system, difficulty concentrating, anemia, infertility, and hypothyroidism. Other signs include muscle weakness, hair loss, mental fog, brittle nails, and a weakened heart. People with selenium deficiency may also suffer from an increased risk of infections and certain diseases, especially those related to the immune system. If you experience any of the above symptoms and have had no explanation, it's worth considering selenium deficiency. A simple blood test can help diagnose any deficiency.


Diseases and Ailments


Selenium is an essential trace mineral that helps promote healthy cells, immunity, and thyroid function. But when there's a lack of selenium, serious diseases and ailments can arise. Some of the most common include Keshan disease, Kashin-Beck disease, and myxedematous endemic cretinism. Keshan disease is a type of heart disease that affects the young and is caused by selenium deficiency (especially in areas with deficient soil). Kashin-Beck disease is a type of arthritis that affects the joints and is also caused by a lack of selenium. Myxedematous endemic cretinism is a type of mental retardation caused by iodine deficiency in combination with selenium deficiency. Other diseases associated with selenium deficiency include male infertility, some types of cancers, and an increased risk of depression.


Side Effects of Excessive


Too much selenium can be harmful to your health, so it's important to not exceed the recommended dosage of 55 mcg a day for adults. Symptoms of selenium toxicity can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, garlic breath odor, and brittleness of the nails. In extreme cases, it can cause hair loss, skin lesions, neurological damage, and liver and kidney problems. Additionally, taking too much selenium can interfere with the absorption of other essential nutrients such as zinc and copper. For this reason, it's important to be mindful of your selenium intake and talk to your doctor if you have any concerns.


Recommended Dosage


When it comes to the recommended daily dosage for selenium, the World Health Organization suggests an average daily intake of 55 micrograms for adults. For pregnant and lactating women, the recommended intake is 60 to 70 micrograms per day.


Since selenium is a trace element, it is recommended that you take it in low doses. Too much selenium can be dangerous, so always consult with your doctor before taking any supplements. It is important to note that if you are taking medications such as thyroid drugs, certain antibiotics, or antacids, you should talk to your doctor before taking any selenium supplements as they may interact with each other.


Food Sources


Selenium is found naturally in certain foods, including certain types of seafood, whole grains, nuts, and some plant-based foods.


The best dietary sources of selenium are seafood, such as tuna, salmon, cod, and mackerel. Nuts, such as Brazil nuts, are also a great source of selenium, as are some plant-based foods, like mushrooms and sunflower seeds. Whole grains, such as quinoa, oats, and brown rice, also contain trace amounts of this important mineral.


Eggs, dairy products, and certain meats also contain selenium, although these foods are not typically considered the best dietary sources of the mineral. In addition, supplements are available for people who are unable to get enough selenium through their diet.




Selenium is an important mineral for our bodies, and it can have positive effects on our health such as protecting cells, boosting immunity, and supporting thyroid function. While a deficiency of selenium can lead to a variety of diseases and ailments, it’s important to be aware of the potential for side effects of consuming too much. As with most dietary choices, moderation is key — be sure to get the recommended dosage for your age and gender. Fortunately, selenium is available in a variety of food sources, from meats to seafood to grains. Eating a balanced diet is the best way to ensure you’re getting the right amount of selenium for your body.

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