Reduce Inflammation: Selenium Health Benefits and Foods
What is selenium?
Selenium is a mineral that is essential but is only needed in small amounts. Selenium combines with proteins and becomes a selenoprotein. Selenoproteins are antioxidants. Antioxidants fight off the free radicals that cause cell damage and can cause cancer and heart disease. Selenium basically prevents oxidative stress. If oxidative stress is prevented then free radicals will not challenge our system. Also, selenium promotes the thyroid hormone to be produced and this encourages healthy thyroid function.
What can selenium do?
- protect the body from free radicals
- promote good thyroid health
- reduces joint inflammation
Foods with Selenium
Nuts and Seeds
- brazil nuts
- mustard seed
- sunflower seeds
Meats and Seafood
- cheddar cheese
- cottage cheese
Grains and Pasta
- egg noodles
- brown and white rice
What diseases are associated with selenium deficiency?
- Kashin-Beck Disease: provokes osteoarthropathy (disorder of the bones and joints)
- Keshan Disease: enlarged heart and poor heart function.
- Myxedematous Endemic Cretinism: provokes mental retardation
Signs and symptoms of selenium deficiency
There are no real symptoms of selenium deficiency and it is quite uncommon. Its primary concern are the risk factors it may induce. However,
some signs include:
- muscle weakness
- heart conditions
- reproductive disorders
Can we get too much selenium?
Yes, and the symptoms of excessive selenium are not comfortable.
Symptoms of too much selenium
- hair loss
- skin disorders
- fingernail loss
- abnormal fingernail beds
What populations need to be aware of selenium?
Selenium can affect the treatment of HIV/Aids, Parkinson's Disease and Multiple Sclerosis. Be sure to advise your doctor if you have these conditions or if you consume a variety of selenium rich foods or supplements.
Additional Health Conditions that patients should be aware of when consuming selenium rich foods:
- Cancer patients
- Crohn's disease
- Kashin-Beck's disease
- Keshan's disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis
Treatments for the above conditions may be affected by a diet rich in selenium. You may also want to consult with your pharmacist if you are being medicated for any of the above conditions as there may be interactions.
Note: patients that are fed through a feeding tube are at risk of having low selenium levels.
There are studies that have concluded selenium may aid in reducing high cholesterol levels. Not only does it reduce the bad cholesterol, it increases the good cholesterol.
Studies have concluded a diet low in selenium puts one at higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
Selenium is a common supplement with some burn victims. Selenium is good for the skin and helps it maintain its function. This is vital when recovering from burns.
Scalp and skin
The antioxidant properties of selenium and the skin healing nature of selenium make it beneficial for healthy skin and a dandruff free scalp. Also, selenium helps regenerate vitamins C and E, these two nutrients are well known for healthy skin and may aid in slowing down the aging process in our complexions.
Recommended Dietary Allowances for Selenium
According to the National Institute of Health, the recommendation is as follows:
Ages 14 and above: 55 mcg a day
- 60 mcg if pregnant
- 70 mcg if lactating
Selenium and negative possibilities
According to WebMD, selenium seems to increase the risk of non-melanoma skin cancer. People at high risk of skin cancer should not take selenium supplements.
Disclaimer: The author is not a physician or a nutritionist, and does not diagnose or treat health issues. The information provided in this hub should not be construed as personal medical advice or instruction.
© 2012 Marisa Hammond Olivares