Selenium is one of the essential nutrients required by the body to maintain good health. It is composed of significant amount of selenoprotiens which are vital in the functioning of reproductive system, metabolic activity of thyroid hormones, production of DNA, protection from infections and preventing the free radicals from causing cell damage.
Selenium is found in two different types-Organic and Inorganic. The organic type (selenomethionine and selenocysteine) is found in human and animal tissues and the inorganic type (selenate and selenite) is found in soil which the plants absorb and accumulate in them.
An excellent source of selenium is found in seafood, meat, eggs, dairy products and poultry. It is also available in cereals, other grains, cashew, Brazil nuts, whole wheat bread, seeds of sunflower, beef, pork and mushrooms.
Deficiency of this important nutrient in the body is found to cause various health issues. Persons with diet intake that does not contain the required level of selenium along with those having intestinal disorders and the elderly are likely to be selenium deficient. Its deficiency can cause muscle and joint pain, hypothyroidism, declined brain function, unhealthy nails and hair.
Selenium is known to have a great impact in rectifying some commonly known health disorders.
Cures Thyroid – Selenium plays a vital role in the synthesis and metabolic activity of the thyroid hormones and is generally concentrated more in the thyroid glands than in any other body organs. It aids in the production of thyroid hormone, maintains and regulates its level in the body. Hypothyroidism can lead to abnormal weight gain, extreme mood swings, loss of appetite and tiredness. It can be treated with a selenium supplement or including diets that are a good source of selenium.
Treats Rheumatism – Selenium helps to produce prostaglandins which are essential for reducing inflammation and reducing arthritic problems such as muscle and joint pains.
Prevent Cancer – Its role in production and repair of DNA is found to treat certain cancers like prostate, bladder, breast, skin and gastrointestinal cancer. It helps to protect the cells from oxidation and its eventual damage.
Reduces Lung Related Problems – Breathlessness and breathing problems associated with Asthma and other lung disorders are found to reduce with the help of selenium.
Hair Care – Selenium is known to maintain a healthy hair health. Problems like dandruff, itchy and dry scalp are best treated with natural intake of selenium rich foods. Hair fall can be treated with sufficient inclusion of selenium.
Regulates Blood Pressure – Selenium helps the body to maintain a healthy blood flow thereby reducing the chances of increased blood pressure, heart attack and other cardiovascular diseases.
Treats Skin Problems – Skin disorders like Psoriasis and Eczema are known to be treated with selenium. The symptoms such as itching, swelling and inflammation of the skin are greatly reduced by including good amount of selenium in the diet.
Good Ocular Health – The antioxidants present in selenium helps in the upkeep of good eye health, prevents cataracts and degeneration of eye cells.
Boosts Brain Function – The concentration of selenium can gradually decline in elderly people. This can in turn lead to the decline of the brain functions which might be the cause of memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease in the aged. Including a selenium supplement or foods that can provide adequate selenium can delay this decline.
Treats Infertility – Selenium enhances the function of reproductive system and prevents disorders associated with it. It is long been observed that selenium can reduce the chances of miscarriages in women. Also, it is said to treat infertility in men by boosting the quality of sperms.
The recommended dosage of selenium per day is 200 micrograms. Excessive selenium in the body is also not good for health and may lead to disorders like neurological and gastrointestinal disorders, kidney and cardiac failure. So, caution should be taken while consuming foods rich in selenium regularly or using a supplement. Any side effects should be taken seriously and doctor’s advice sought immediately.