Selenium & its importance for your health
Selenium is a mineral that is essential for optimal health. Selenium is a mineral antioxidant that we only need a little of yet it can have a great impact. It becomes more powerful when paired with vitamin E. It is essential for the thyroid gland to function properly and works with vitamin C to helps protect your immune system.
Symptoms of deficiency
Hypothyroidism, a weak immune system, anaemia, cardiomyopathy, liver damage, tiredness or exhaustion, thin and brittle hair, scaly skin, a decrease in sperm quality are all symptoms of a deficiency. You may also be at a higher risk of developing cancers such as ovarian, prostate, colon, breast, and lung cancer.
Seven Health benefits of Selenium
Boosts Immune System
Our immune system fights off dangerous bacteria, viruses, fungi and infections. It also helps heal wounds. When the immune system isn’t working properly, it becomes overactive sometimes and attacks our body. This then becomes an autoimmune disease. Selenium’s antioxidant capabilities can help to lower inflammation in our body and protect our immune system. It does this by lowering oxidative stress. A deficiency slows the immune response for fighting infections.
Selenium and Asthma
Asthma is associated with high levels of oxidative stress and inflammation; this is why selenium is great for helping to lessen asthma symptoms. Asthma is caused by an inflammatory response to allergens and other types of inflammatory agents from your diet and the environment. Normal medical treatment for asthma dampens the inflammatory response and help ease your airways. Steroid treatment can have unpleasant side effects and if used long term is not good for your health. Selenium is a way of boosting your body so your reactions to allergens and inflammatory agents lessen.
As an Antioxidant
Antioxidants are compounds in foods that fight disease, protect DNA, and fight free radicals. Free radicals are harmful by products that come from excess inflammation, stress, toxins and a poor diet. If you have a lot of oxidative stress, you could be at a higher risk for diseases like heart disease, strokes, cancer, and Alzheimer’s. Selenium will help to combat this and protect the body.
Selenium and iodine help protect and maintain the functioning of the thyroid hormone. This hormone governs your metabolism. Your body uses two types of thyroid hormone, T3 and T4. The body converts T4 into T3 in order to put it to use. Selenium is essential for the thyroid gland to produce T3. When your body is deficient it cannot convert T4 into T3, leading to hypothyroidism. Hashimoto’s disease is another malfunction of the thyroid. This is an autoimmune disease that causes the immune system to attack the thyroid gland. This causes problems such as a hyperactive thyroid and hypothyroid. Increasing selenium will slow down the attack of the immune system and help it function normally. If you are struggling with your thyroid go to my article https://www.wellbeing.com.au/body/health/an-unhealthy-thyroid-can-make-you-very-ill.html
Selenium improves Heart function
A diet rich in selenium may be able to help prevent heart disease. Low selenium levels in the body have been linked to an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes. You are at a higher risk of heart disease if you have high levels of inflammation. High inflammation levels can cause plaque to build up in the blood vessels. Selenium lowers inflammation leading to less chance of plaque building up and blood clots that can cause strokes and heart attacks. As an antioxidant it helps to lessen oxidative damage in your body. This also protects you against the build-up of plaque in blood vessels.
Selenium may help increase sperm mobility and blood flow. It is a mineral found in the sperm and can have an effect on the function of your sperm as they move through a woman’s vagina to fertilise an ovum. Also, for women, it’s thought that selenium may be able to help to reduce the chances of a miscarriage. However, there is more research needed to confirm this. Low selenium levels can cause problems with fertility but it is also important to not go overboard. If you have too much selenium it may affect your fertility as well. This is why it is important to consult a heath care practitioner to be sure you are getting the correct dosage.
Small amount of selenium can have an impact on helping to prevent cancer. Studies show there is a link between low levels of selenium in blood and the risk of certain cancers. This could be due to the fact that selenium helps with the cells in your body and their ability to repair DNA. If you have damaged DNA your normal cells do not reproduce properly creating a higher risk for cancer cells. Higher selenium levels in your blood may reduce your risk of certain cancers such as breast cancer, lung cancer, colon cancer and prostate cancer.
Antioxidants are one of the best ways to help prevent cancer, and since selenium is such a powerful antioxidant, it makes it an extremely valuable tool to helping reduce the risk of cancer. Studies have shown that eating foods that are high in selenium are more helpful that just taking a selenium supplement. This is because selenium’s effect is magnified when consumed with other disease-fighting nutrients. Foods rich in selenium are pork, beef, turkey eggs, chicken, fish, shellfish, some beans and nuts. In short many protein foods.
If you believe you may be suffering from deficiencies contact your natural therapist to assess where you are at with your levels and work out a diet and supplements that are right for you.