With the prices of pharmaceutical drugs reaching ever skyward, people are looking for ways to improve their health without taking a visit to their doctor. More and more people are turning to holistic medicine to promote their overall physical health. Even the average Joe is committing to researching a wide variety of vitamins and minerals that can have a positive effect on one’s health.
One mineral that individuals are finding possesses multiple health benefits is selenium. Like magnesium and calcium, this mineral is one that humans do not need a considerable amount of. Still, when one does not possess the right amount in the body, he or she can experience issues that can adversely affect one’s well-being.
People intake most of the RDA (recommended daily amount) of this mineral through their diets. However, doctors might advise others to take a supplement. The RDA of this mineral in healthy adults of either gender is 55 micrograms per day. However, physicians may instruct men at an increased risk for developing prostate cancer to take 100 micrograms of the mineral daily.
Similarly, obstetricians might advise pregnant women to take 60 micrograms per day. Moreover, they may instruct, breastfeeding women to up that amount to 70 micrograms per day. Adults (men or women) should never take over 400 micrograms per day. That’s because anything more than that number may cause an overdose.
Who needs selenium?
Who should take this mineral? Specific health issues predispose individuals to lacking this critical element. These issues include being fed intravenously (using a feeding tube), having HIV, or having Chron’s disease. However, doctors advise these take supplements most often. Due to the idea that above-average levels link to adverse side effects, you should consult your doctor before you begin a supplement routine that includes this mineral.
How can you ensure that you are getting the recommended daily amount of this mineral from your diet?
Start by consuming specific foods that are rich in the mineral. First, you can get a great deal of this mineral in nuts, particularly in Brazil nuts or walnuts. Selenium is one of the natural antioxidants in nuts.
Additionally, a great many kinds of seafood contain selenium, including the following:
- red snapper
Meats such as beef and poultry also contain this mineral, as well as grains (wheat).
Nine Health Benefits of Selenium
Let’s discuss the benefits of ensuring you are getting the recommended daily amount of this mineral.
First, this mineral is naturally present in nuts and fish. Both nuts and fish are renowned for their possession of antioxidants, and selenium is one of the antioxidants naturally occurring in fish and nuts. Antioxidants help prevent cell damage caused by free radicals in our environment.
Stress, smoking, and the overuse of alcohol all lead to the overproduction of free radicals or oxidative stress. Oxidative stress produces free radicals that can damage healthy cells (which can cause cancer or other issues). This mineral will work to neutralize the excess free radical cells, which, in turn, prevents oxidative stress damage to healthy cells. In this way, this mineral can help to prevent heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
1 – Prostate cancer and selenium
This mineral links to the prevention of certain cancers. The most prevalent evidence concerns prostate cancer. This is why some doctors advise men to up their intake of the mineral to 100 micrograms per day (again, because there are some risks involved with taking too much of the mineral, always consult your doctor before beginning any vitamin or supplement routine).
Many of the studies regarding selenium and prostate cancer are observational. And, there seems to be conflicting information. Speak with your doctor and decide what course of action is best for you.
2- Reduces oxidative stress on the human body
The mineral is thought to not only reduce the amount of oxidative stress that the body may incur, but it is also capable of reducing damage to one’s DNA.
Furthermore, we know that antioxidants can destroy or weaken cancer cells. Additionally, this mineral can also boost one’s immune system. Many studies indicate that people with higher blood levels of this mineral are less likely to have oxidative damage done to their bodies.
It is important to note, however, that these studies linked lower incidences of oxidative stress to individuals who received their supply of this mineral from their diet, not solely from supplements.
3 – Minimizes the damage stemming from radiation treatment
Next, this mineral can help to alleviate some of the side effects of radiation treatment. When individuals with cervical or uterine cancer experienced diarrhea associated with their radiation treatments, the intake of this mineral helped to reduce this side effect of radiation. Furthermore, women taking this type of therapy said the increased consumption of this mineral helped to improve their overall quality of life during radiotherapy.
4 – Protects the heart
Just as we know that antioxidants protect against heart disease, so does this mineral. Selenium deficiencies directly connect to incidences of heart health.
One reason that this mineral is thought to lower one’s risk of developing heart disease is that it naturally reduces the amount of inflammation in one’s body. Since inflammation is one of the notable risk factors for heart disease, reducing this marker by getting the proper amount of this mineral in one’s diet is a great way to lower one’s risk of heart disease.
5 – Ups the antioxidants
Surprisingly enough, this mineral can raise the levels of a healthy antioxidant, glutathione peroxidase, which is known to be a powerful antioxidant. In this way, this mineral not only reduces oxidative stress, but it can also reduce the amount of inflammation in one’s body. Inflammation in the body can lead to the build-up of plaque, which causes atherosclerosis (a blockage in one’s arteries). Atherosclerosis can lead to not only heart attacks, but it can also cause strokes. Ensuring one is taking in the proper amount of this mineral can help to prevent both heart disease and strokes.
6 – Shows promise in fighting Alzheimer’s Disease
Previously, it was mentioned that those who obtain the proper amounts of the mineral in the diet would see a reduction in the chance of developing Alzheimer’s. This is because the same antioxidants we keep mentioning lead to a reduction in oxidative stress.
Many consider oxidative stress to the brain to be a leading cause of Alzheimer’s disease. The degeneration in the brain cells can be hastened by the presence of cell damage due to oxidative stress. Taking in the proper amount of this mineral means that free radicals that damage healthy cells are reduced, and this, in turn, reduces the likelihood one will develop Alzheimer’s.
7 – Also shows promise in slowing the progression of Parkinson’s Disease
Not only does the proper amount of this mineral in one’s diet improve one’s chances of preventing Alzheimer’s, but it also helps to slow down the progression of Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis. Researchers continue to work to strengthen their claims. But in the meantime, this news encourages many.
8 – Improves thyroid function
Another great benefit of taking in the correct amount of this mineral is an improvement in one’s thyroid health. The thyroid regulates many functions in the body, one of which is metabolism. The thyroid also controls one’s development and growth, so selenium intake in pregnant or breastfeeding women and young children is essential. When the thyroid does not function properly, the hormones naturally released by the thyroid are either released too often, not enough, or not at all.
Furthermore, improperly functioning thyroid can directly result from a lack of this mineral. Research proves that Hashimoto’s thyroiditis directly links to a lacking of this mineral in one’s diet. Those with Hashimoto’s disease that took this supplement stated that they had an overall improvement in their well-being. Other forms of hypothyroidism link to a lack of selenium in one’s diet. Thus, doctors recommend supplementation to combat this situation.
9 – Strengthens the immune system
The mineral promotes one’s immunity. Again, remember that it reduces oxidative stress, and this helps to fight off certain illnesses. Those who have higher levels of this mineral in the blood often experience an enhanced immune response. Furthermore, selenium reduces inflammation in the body, which can help to lower one’s immunity. Research indicates the mineral aids in strengthening the ability of the body to fight off disease in those with conditions that compromise the immune system.
Selenium is one of the essential minerals that we often overlook. However, we need this to strengthen our ability to fight specific diseases, reduce oxidative stress, and ease inflammation. Check with your doctor on precise dosing, and begin supplementing with selenium only under his or her guidance.