What is Selenium?
Selenium is a trace mineral, meaning that it is required as a nutrient in small amounts relative to other minerals such as calcium and potassium. Selenium functions as a component of the enzyme glutathione peroxidase, which is a compound with significant antioxidant properties. Selenium’s role in antioxidant functions makes it a key component of fighting the oxidative stress of free radicals, and it has also been shown that the mineral plays a role in regulating thyroid function and the immune system. Not consuming enough selenium can lead to Keshan disease, which can weaken the heart. It may also lead to Kashin-Beck disease, which can lead to degeneration of cartilage tissue. It can also lead to extreme fatigue, goitre, and recurrent miscarriage.

What are the health benefits of Selenium?
Selenium is often used to treat chemical allergies, dandruff, eczema, macular degeneration, low immune function, psoriasis, and ulcers. Certain studies have found that there is a link between selenium and the incidence of cancer, and it has been found that certain cancers are more apparent among populations suffering from selenium deficiency.

What foods are good sources of Selenium?
It is rare for a person with an average American diet to suffer from selenium deficiency, for the mineral’s abundance in foods is directly related to the content of the soil in which it is grown. While American soil fosters an ample supply of selenium in the foods from which it is grown, other countries, like China, have soil that is deficient in selenium and therefore creates a greater risk for the country’s population in suffering from conditions associated with selenium deficiency.

Brazil nuts are known for their particularly high selenium content. Other foods noted for their selenium content include goji berry, tuna, cod, beef, turkey, enriched pasta, eggs, cottage cheese, rice, and bread.

Are there other ways to take Selenium?
Selenium can be taken as a supplement and can be found online, health food stores, and in the offices of alternative medical practitioners.

Are there any precautions for taking Selenium?
Selenium has been found to be toxic when taken in large doses. Selenosis, a condition that occurs when one consumes excessive amounts of selenium, becomes a risk when one takes well above the accepted intake of 400 micrograms a day.

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This entry was posted in Natural Health Dictionary, Supplements, Vitamins and Nutrients.