In order to stay fit and healthy, the body needs sufficient amount of trace minerals. One of these is selenium.
Health Benefits of Selenium
• An essential trace mineral found in food and water, people use this mineral for medicine because of its high antioxidant powers. Selenium is known to activate an antioxidant enzyme in the body called glutathione peroxidase, which can help in cancer protection.
• It also builds defense against toxicity of oxidation as well as regulates the metabolism of the thyroid hormone.
• Some experts say that selenium may be used for prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases like stroke and atherosclerosis, which is the hardening of the arteries.
• A few studies indicate that selenium can do wonders in preventing prostate cancer. By taking selenium supplements, a man can reduce his risk of prostate cancer if he has a baseline prostate specific antigen and the blood selenium level baseline is not more than 4ng per ml and 123.2ng per ml respectively. It's important to note however that a study from the University of California revealed that high selenium levels may be detrimental to men who are already suffering from this disease.
• Selenium has also been said to reduce asthma symptoms, building stronger immune defense for allergens that trigger asthma attacks.
• Since selenium is a powerful antioxidant, it has been used by some to cure burns. They believe that intake of selenium with other minerals like zinc and copper speed up the repair and regeneration of damaged cells such as in burn injuries.
• It has also been said that selenium supplements are effective in reducing dandruff.
• In some recent studies, selenium has been found to play a role in diabetes prevention because of its insulin-like function, which means that it helps significantly in the absorption of glucose. Apart from that, it can also take part in the prevention of diabetes side effects like retinopathy and neuropathy.
• Selenium is also good for eye health. A body of research suggests that this trace mineral can help in the prevention of cataract prevention, which is why those with family history of such eye disease are advised to take in required daily amount of this mineral.
• The antioxidant quality of selenium which makes it effective in inflammation reduction makes it a promising candidate as a remedy for arthritis.
• On top of all this, it has been claimed that selenium is beneficial for the mental health. It is believed to improve certain mental problems including depression and anxiety. Some researchers say that this trace mineral can help delay the onset of Alzheimer's disease for the elderly.
• Other uses of selenium include treating or preventing under-active thyroid, osteoarthritis, macular degeneration, hay fever, infertility, gray hair, abnormal pap smears, chronic fatigue syndrome, arsenic poisoning, and miscarriage.
Food Sources of Selenium
Aside from dietary supplements, one may obtain this trace mineral from food sources such as:
- Brazil nuts
- sunflower seeds
- wheat germ
- fennel seeds
The average daily intake should be 40 to 70 mcg.