Benefits of Selenium are not well known but few minerals are as important to your health. Selenium deficiency symptoms are a warning that you need to eat more selenium rich foods, and use selenium supplements if necessary.
Ok, please believe me when I say I am not trying to sell you selenium! However it is extremely important in protecting yourself against cancer. Let me tell you the how and why.
Selenium is a grayish metallic looking powder that is relatively rare and only found in the soil of certain areas.
Benefits of selenium come from the fact that the body uses it to make something called glutathione peroxidase. Glutathione peroxidase is a powerful antioxidant that protects your cells from oxidative stress, and prevents the DNA damage that can cause cancer.
In areas where the soil is deficient in selenium, rates of cancer in the surrounding population are higher. Without the necessary levels of selenium in the crops consumed, the body cannot make adequate levels of glutathione peroxidase to prevent DNA damage from oxidative stress.
Selenium Deficiency Symptoms
How would you know if you were deficient in selenium? Selenium deficiency is rare in the developed world, but can occur in certain people who have intestinal problems that cause difficulty in absorbing nutrients.
Here is a brief listing of selenium deficiency symptoms
- Poor Mental Function
- Keshan Disease
- Kashin-Beck disease
The best way to determine if you have a selenium deficiency is to get a mineral assay done. This is a test to measure levels of key minerals in your body. This will uncover a deficiency of selenium, which would otherwise go undetected.
Once detected, there are two ways to correct this problem.
Eating selenium rich foods
Taking selenium supplements
Selenium Rich Foods
Here are some selenium rich foods that you can add to your diet to ensure you are getting the benefits of selenium. Beyond just preventing a deficiency, healthy levels of selenium will protect against cancer and heart disease as well.
- Nuts, brazil nuts, dried, unblanched
- Nuts, mixed nuts, oil roasted, with peanuts, with salt added
- Fish, tuna, light, canned in water, drained solids
- Wheat flour – whole grain
Selenium supplements can be used to cover your need for this mineral such as when you are unable for some reason to consume selenium rich foods, or you have an absorption problem that prevents you from getting this mineral from your food. Top quality selenium supplements to mention a few are:
Now Foods – Selenium (as L-Selenomethionine)
Jarrow Formulas – Methylselenocysteine
Life Extension – (L-selenomethionine1), (sodium selenate), (selenodiglutathione) and (Se-methylselenocysteine)
There are many good quality supplements out there. Just do a bit of research and check the reviews. Chances are that if a company has a good reputation, then all of their supplements will be of high quality and you will get the full benefits of selenium.
Overdoses of selenium can be toxic. Some symptoms of selenium toxicity are fatigue, hair loss, and white blotches on your nails.
The National Academy of Sciences recommends the following as upper levels for daily selenium intake:
Age Males and Females and Micrograms per Day:
0 – 6 months (45 mcg/day)
7 – 12 months (60 mcg/day)
1-3 years (90 mcg/day)
4-8 years (150 mcg/day)
9-13 years (280 mcg/day)
14-18 years (400 mcg/day)
19 years and older (400 mcg/day)
The benefits of selenium are a significantly decreased risk of heart disease and cancer, because of its beneficial effects on your antioxidant status. Make sure you cover your body’s requirement for selenium either through selenium rich foods, or selenium supplements.