Selenium is a trace mineral and is typically derived from soil, water, and plant parts. Humans typically consume selenium from plant sources. Selenium is relatively rare and quite difficult to find in large quantities.
Selenium is needed for numerous cellular functions in humans. As such, selenium is necessary for overall body wellness. However, selenium could be toxic when taken in high quantities.
Food sources that are rich in selenium include; brazil nuts, spinach, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, muschrooms, seafoods, and animal kidneys.
Below are various health benefits of Selenium;
1. It Is An Antioxidant
Selenium works with Vitamin E to act as an antioxidant for the body. This, in turn, counters the activities of harmful free radicals that kill or weaken the cells of different organs of the body which triggers the rise of diseases like arthritis, cancer, digestive problems, kidney malfunction, heart disease, etc.
2. Enhances Sperm Health
Selenium helps in the control of the production of sperm and keeps the sperm healthy. It also comes in very handy when there is a need to increase sexual arousal. It is very nutritional for the sperm and enhances sperm quality, this is because a huge amount of the selenium, in a man, is stored in the seminal and testicular tract. A constant dose of selenium, for about three months, can make a subfertile man fertile by increasing the sperm motility. The tail of the sperm of a man won’t form well if there is a deficiency of selenium and this means that the sperm won’t be able to swim fast. This causes asthenozoospermia and disruptions in teratozoospermia. In order to avoid this and maintain a healthy sex life, men need to have constant selenium in their diet.
3. Controls Lupus Symptoms
Lupus is an autoimmune disease that is caused when the immune system of the body begins to attack the organs and tissues of the body. The result of this is inflammation on different parts of the body ranging from the skin to joints, heart, and brain. The more obvious symptom of lupus is a butterfly wing-like rashes across the cheeks. Selenium helps to reduce the pain caused by Lupus. Constant consumption of selenium, on the advice and supervision of a doctor, would go a long way to alleviate the symptoms of lupus.
4. Prevents Cancer
Research has shown that constant intake of selenium can decrease the likelihood of cancer occurrence in a person. Selenium helps in preventing the development of cancer-causing cells in the body, this is because selenium contains natural anti-carcinogens which inhibit carcinogenic cells. Selenium also boosts the activities of glutathione, that protects the membrane of cells from damage. Selenium is very potent for cancers like colorectal cancer, lung cancer, and prostate cancer. It also produces apoptosis, an enzymatic reaction that kills dangerous cells like cancer cells naturally without posing any threat to healthy cells. Selenium also prevents the mutilation of cells and improves the repair of DNA.
5. Protects The Skin
Selenium can be used as in creams and supplements that shield the skin from damage due to constant exposure to sunlight. The burning effect of the sun on the skin is reduced when selenium is consumed. This means that the chances of developing skin cancer are also greatly reduced. Research shows that the mortality rate by skin cancer can be reduced by as much as 50% if a skin cancer patient takes up to two hundred micrograms of selenium daily.
6. Protects The Cardiovascular System
Selenium preserves the cardiovascular system by preventing cardiovascular disease due to its antioxidant effect. It doesn’t totally cure cardiovascular ailments but it helps inhibit the disease such as heart problems. The well being of the cardiovascular system affects the general wellbeing of the body, so it is safe to say that selenium guarantees a healthy heart and a healthy life.
7. Prevents Cataract
Selenium protects the eye from developing cataract, which is an eye disease that usually occurs in people that are older than 60 years. It is a degenerative disease which means that it if it is not stopped it could lead to blindness. Selenium however helps to prevent cataract, especially age-related cataract, from developing, thereby ensuring good vision even in old age.
8. Prevents Attack From Virus
Selenium enables the immune system to defend itself against attacks especially from viruses. Constant intake of selenium aids in the production of antibodies and destroys tumor cells. Deficiency of selenium makes the body easily susceptible to viral infections. It could also lead to the inability of the heart to pump enough blood to other parts of the body. When there is insufficient selenium, the cells become stressed and die off, this makes it easy for viruses to grow fast, but sufficient selenium inhibits the replication of the virus, this is especially true of HIV. Patients that have sufficient selenium are however able to live longer because the antibodies that are stimulated by selenium fight against viruses, fungus, and other foreign bodies. This resilience in the fighting against these foreign bodies ensure constant good health and protects the body from sicknesses such as a cough, influenza, HIV and other diseases caused by viruses.
9. Prevents Hair Loss
As a trace mineral, selenium ensures the growth of healthy hair. The human hair contains protein hence consumption of proteinous food is necessary for good hair growth. Selenium helps in the digestion of protein in the body. Thereby reducing the activities of harmful free radicals that trigger hair loss. However, avoid excessive intake of selenium as it could exacerbate hair loss.
10. Inhibits Tumors
Sufficient intake of selenium has also been proven to help prevent the growth and development of tumors in the body.
11. Inhibits Skin Aging
As stated earlier, selenium protects the skin from the harsh effects of sunlight and helps to maintain skin elasticity. Reduction in the selenium level of the body can cause damage to skin cells. This leads to aging. Selenium keeps in check aging signs such as dull, dry and rough skin, wrinkles and inelastic skin. This is done by inhibiting harmful free radicals that trigger this process. Selenium also supports cognition. Low levels of Selenium in the body causes cognitive decline which causes quick aging.
12. Maintaining Of Immunity
Selenium ensures the maintenance of the immunity of the body. A weak immune system is equal to a weak and sickly body. A breakdown in the immunity of the body leads to high susceptibility to attacks from diseases. Selenium ensures the production of the enzymes responsible for detoxification which ensure the constant strength of the immune system.
13. Maintenance Of Brain Health
Daily consumption of selenium helps to maintain good brain health for both young and old people. This is because selenium is very good for the brain and helps it to perform well. Studies show that selenium helps to prevent against Alzheimer.
Selenium promotes fertility both in male and female as well as in animals. For the male, it boosts sperm motility. In a female, it helps to balance the menstrual cycle and prevents the disruption of the reproductive process such as miscarriage. A woman with low selenium in her body is more prone to having miscarriages, especially in the first trimester. Deficiency of selenium in animals also causes miscarriages. A proper balance of selenium in the body thereby enhances fertility and reduces the risk of pregnancy loss.
15. Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Selenium reduces oxidative stress around bones and joints that manifest as inflammation. Inflammation is usually caused by NF-kB and this can be inhibited and decreased by selenium. Selenium helps to prevent the wearing down of your body and ensures a healthy, pain-free and active life. Inflammation is often manifested in different forms ranging from eczema to gout to rheumatoid arthritis. So having a constant supply of selenium to the body keeps these diseases far from you.
16. Improves Mood
Selenium is an important mineral that manages the activities of the brain. It ensures that the psychological condition of the brain is okay and a good mood is maintained by affecting the nervous system cells. Research has shown that people that are deficient in selenium are prone to often have bad moods and find it hard to switch to a happy mood because their neurotransmitters don’t communicate fast. They are therefore more prone to anxiety, confusion, depression and even hostility. However, a constant dose of 100mcg of selenium for a period of five weeks lightens the mood. People who have high selenium level are often very cheerful and happy.
17. Prevents Hypothyroidism
Deficiency of selenium could lead to a condition known as hypothyroidism. This is a health challenge that occurs when the thyroid gland, of the body, is not able to produce enough thyroid hormone. This leads to depression and fatigue. Taking selenium can however prevent and even reverse this condition.
18. Improves Concentration
Concentration is necessary for virtually all affairs of life but certain people have problems concentrating for long, this is due to mental fatigue. Mental fatigue and low irritability are often caused by a deficiency of selenium. This means that concentration will be very hard. Selenium, however, lessens these symptoms thereby ensuring easy concentration.
19. Hampers The Development Of AIDS
Most AIDS patients have very low immunity, this means that they are susceptible to diseases very often. This is because the virus attacks the immune system. Selenium, however, weakens the development of the HIV virus in the patient as well as increases and maintains the immune system, which makes them less prone to disease.
20. Prevents Keshan Disease
Keshan disease causes a disruption in the heart muscles which leads to heart inflammation. This means the heart of Keshan disease patient can’t function properly, and it can ultimately lead to death. This disease is popular in places like China where there is a low supply of selenium. Constant intake of selenium can prevent this disease since it is originally caused by a deficiency of selenium.
21. Prevents And Treats Kashin-Beck Disease
This is a disease that is often manifested as osteoarthritis in teenagers and it is caused by deteriorating joints function which is caused by a deficiency of selenium. It is very common in countries with a low supply of selenium and its common symptoms are cramps, rigidity, and pain of joints. These symptoms are also some of the most obvious effects of deficiency of selenium and could lead to the death of cartilage and retardation of growth. In severe cases, the patient gets crippled.
22.Improves Heart Health
The build-up of plaque often leads to heart attacks and strokes. But selenium acts as a blood thinner and reduces the chances of blood clotting and reduces the amount of cholesterol in the blood vessels and arteries. This leads to the improvement of the heart condition and prevents heart-related diseases.
23. Improves Thyroid Health
Selenium is very important for the proper functioning of the endocrine system especially the thyroid glands. It regulates the quantity of thyroid hormone produced in the body. Selenium triggers the production of the T3 hormone which is an important part of the thyroid gland that controls the metabolic function and rate of the body. If selenium is not present to trigger the production of this hormone, then a lot of things will go wrong with the body system.
24. Blood Cleansing
Selenium acts as a cleanser for the blood and prevents it from chemotherapy effects which could lead to the malfunctioning of the kidney and other illnesses. Also, higher selenium status is associated with adverse blood lipid profile.
25. Prevents Asthma
Deficiency of selenium is a reason for asthma attacks in most people. Boosting the selenium in the body, however, can go a long way to treat this respiratory problem. Maintaining a good supply of selenium to the body also prevents asthma from happening.
26. Maintains Circadian Rhythm
Circadian rhythm is very necessary for the general health of the body and weight loss. If the circadian rhythm is altered, it is hard for a person to sleep well and lack of sleep can cause various illnesses. Selenium helps to restore a circadian rhythm that is disrupted thereby ensuring not only good sleep but general body well being.
27. Helps Th2 Dominant People
People with Th2 dominance are often immune deficient and are prone to viral infection and cancer. The Th1 cells maintain a balance of the immune system but the dominance of Th2 suppresses the actions of Th1 thereby making the immune system more prone to attack. Taking selenium supplements help to reduce the dominance of Th2 thereby increasing the function of Th1 and making the immune system more active.
28. It Increases IGF-1
IGF-1 is responsible for the stimulation of growth of body cells which lead to growth and development of the body right from the womb to when the child gets to adolescence. It also facilitates healing and building of muscles and improvement of bone density. The deficiency of IGF-1 often leads to a short or stunted stature. This is because cells cannot be reproduced or regenerated. Selenium helps to increase the production of IGF-1 in the body thereby ensuring the proper development of the body.
29. Helps Repair Oxidative-Damaged DNA
An adequate amount of selenium in the body has the ability to improve repair of oxidative-damaged DNA. This brings about an improvement of DNA. High level of selenium in the body poisons cancer cells and inhibits them from developing.
30. Prevents Tuberculosis
Research has shown that selenium in the body can prevent tuberculosis. It also acts as a stimulant for the immune system of the body.
31. Fights Diabetes
Taking foods that are rich in selenium, on a daily basis, helps in fighting off diabetes thereby reducing the risk of suffering from diabetes. However, avoid high intake of selenium as it could increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.
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