In recent years it has received much attention and not unjustly. More and more studies are showing the catalytic role of selenium in many and important functions of our body.
What is selenium?
Selenium is an essential trace element for the normal function of the body with strong antioxidant activity. Selenium-containing enzymes are synthesized in our cells and are the main antioxidants that help neutralize free radicals.
In addition, selenium appears to have a synergistic effect with other antioxidants, such as vitamin E. More specifically, studies have shown that vitamin E increases the absorption of selenium while providing extra antioxidant protection.
The actions of selenium are mainly carried out by selenium-containing proteins, the selenoproteins. These proteins have strong antioxidant activity and are involved in important functions of our body, such as thyroid hormone homeostasis, DNA synthesis and immune response.
Selenium: Health Benefits
Selenium and Immune System
Selenium is normally found in tissues of the immune system, such as the spleen and lymph nodes. Supplementing the diet with selenium can stimulate the proliferation of immune cells.
Selenium and Viruses
Lack of selenium has been linked to the appearance, infectivity and progression of certain viral infections.
Selenium, Reproduction and Male Fertility
Selenium is associated with successful reproduction, as its deficiency has been associated with premature miscarriage. It is also essential for the male fertility required for testosterone biosynthesis, formation and normal development of sperm.
Selenium and Brain Function
Studies have shown that supplementation with selenium has reduced seizures in children, while low levels in the elderly are associated with dementia and impaired cognitive function.
Selenium and Thyroid
Selenium activates the enzyme that helps to convert thyroid hormones, in particular thyroxine (T4) to triiodothyronine (T3). Its deficiency is associated with an increased risk of developing thyroid diseases, such as Hashimoto autoimmune thyroiditis and hypothyroidism.
Selenium and Cardiovascular System
Selenium can protect against cardiovascular disease. Glutathione peroxidase can fight lipid oxidation and thus reduce blood clotting.
Which foods are rich in selenium?
In the first place are Brazil nuts. One nut yields about 95µg of selenium, which covers the recommended daily dose of selenium!
Other sources are fish and seafood, liver, red meat and poultry, various foods of vegetable origin, such as cereals, fruits, seeds and vegetables.
A valuable trace element necessary for the proper functioning of the body!
You can increase your intake of selenium by consuming foods that are rich in it. If your system needs ‘boosting’ or your needs are higher, then you can enrich your diet by choosing the appropriate dietary supplement with selenium.