Selenium Benefits: A Trace Mineral You DON’T Want To Lack
If there’s one trace mineral you don’t want to deprive your body of, it’s selenium! Having sufficient amounts can mean the difference between health and disease, and even influence how long you live!
As one of the ten essential trace minerals, it’s vital to your health, but you only need it in small amounts. It’s important to know that your body can’t make it, so it must come from your diet or a supplement.
Let’s explore exactly what selenium does for you and how to get enough of it.
Selenium’s Greatest Benefit: Antioxidant Power!
Selenium is best known for its role as an antioxidant. Here’s a quick review on what antioxidants do in your body…
Even though oxygen is essential to our survival, taking it in creates a reaction with other molecules known as “oxidization.” This reaction is a problem because it changes molecular structure and creates oxidants, or free radicals.
When too many free radicals are produced in your body, they damage your tissues and cells, increase disease risk, and speed up aging! Antioxidants are like soldiers in an army against free radicals.
Yes, you read that right – just the act of breathing in oxygen creates harmful health effects if you don’t arm yourself with enough antioxidants. But don’t hold your breath, you’ve got selenium to help you out!
How Selenium Benefits Your Health & Reduces Signs of Aging
An antioxidant like selenium protects your body from free radical damage.
It specifically does this by:
- Being present in all of your tissues
- Producing selenoproteins – enzymes that destroys free radicals
- Preventing oxidation of fatty tissue – this translates to better skin elasticity, muscle mass/tone, and a stronger heart (your most important muscle)!
You can read more about how selenium benefits your skin here: Best Nutrients for Glowing & Youthful Skin
Science Confirms: Selenium Helps Fight Cancer
As early as 1969, research has shown a link between selenium deficiency and cancer.
Through various animal experiments, scientists have concluded that selenium is protective against cancer. These studies showed that tumor cells grew in the absence of selenium, and shrunk with sufficient amounts. WOW!
Certain foods are naturally high in selenium, and like other minerals, it’s also found in soil.
The amount of selenium in food varies around the world depending upon where food is grown. It’s been discovered that in parts of the world where soil is rich in selenium, cancer risk is reduced!
Selenium Has Even More Benefits
In addition to its amazing anti-aging and anti-cancer properties, selenium keeps you healthy in other ways by:
- Fighting viruses before they can take over. Selenium’s ability to slow viral replication and boost immunity are so apparent that scientists who study HIV report that selenium supplementation is a valid way to assist primary treatment.
- Regulating hormone production in your thyroid. These hormones are essential for proper sleep, energy, appetite, weight, digestion, muscle control, brain and bone health.
- Reducing inflammation
- Aiding fertility
- Helping asthma
- Reducing risk for heart disease
Note: Autoimmune thyroid disorders like Hashimoto’s and Grave’s disease are often linked to a selenium deficiency.
Spotting a Selenium Deficiency
You may be deficient in selenium if you don’t eat enough selenium rich foods and/or your food is grown in selenium depleted soil.
Common deficiency signs include:
- Frequent illness
- Hair loss
- Muscle weakness
…and since selenium is SO good at neutralizing free radicals, having an increased risk for cancer is also a red flag.
Creating a Selenium Rich Diet
Foods rich in selenium include brazil nuts, pasture raised eggs, organ meat, sunflower seeds, and certain seafood like tuna, salmon, herring and rockfish.
Note: Tuna tends to have high levels of mercury, so I recommend avoiding or restricting its consumption. Mercury exposure can harm your brain, heart, lungs, kidneys, and immune system.
Selenium is so important, I’ve included it in BodyManual’s Multivitamin and Mineral.
Before I wrap up, here’s a tip: Selenium and vitamin E (another powerful antioxidant) enhance the effects of one another. Taking these two nutrients together will optimize your health, so you bet I’ve added vitamin E to my multivitamin formula too!
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