Selenium is a micronutrient essential for maintaining good health and well-being. It is found in trace amounts in the human body. The largest amounts are found in muscles, kidneys, liver, thyroid and pituitary gland.Selenium plays an important role in the body. It takes part in the metabolic processes of the cell and contributes to proper functioning of enzymes because it is included in more than 20 enzymes. It is a cofactor of glutathione, i.e. it is necessary for the production of glutathione in the body.Selenium is a powerful antioxidant, helps remove free radicals, thus protecting nucleic acids (DNA and RNA) and red blood cells from damage.
It plays an important role in the process of creating the body’s immunity and thus protects against numerous diseases. This element helps fight bacteria and viruses that enter the body.
Selenium plays a very important role in the proper functioning of the thyroid gland. Selenium deficiency leads to a decrease in thyroid activity, damage to its tissue and a decrease in the influence of T3 on the body metabolism.Other properties of selenium are associated with its anti-inflammatory action. Selenium helps in the removal of toxic heavy metals from the body and participates in the formation of prostaglandins – hormone-like substances that prevent inflammation, especially rheumatoid.
This important micronutrient also works on the cardiovascular system and is recommended in the prevention of circulatory diseases.
Symptoms of selenium deficiency:
Non-specific signs of selenium deficiency are as follows:
- feeling of constant fatigue
- muscle pain,
- frequent infections,
- progressive disease of the liver and pancreas,
- infertility in men.
Symptoms of excess amount of selenium:
Characteristic symptoms of selenosis (chronic selenium poisoning) are as follows:
- fragility and loss of nails,
- hair loss,
- nausea and vomiting,
- garlic breath,
- disorders of the nervous system,
Selenosis is a rare disease that occurs only in people who are exposed to frequent contact with this mineral at work. Scientists failed to confirm that the use of selenium in high doses is the cause of poisoning, but despite using it in a dose above 900 mgc per day, the first symptoms of overdose may appear. Vitamin D- one of the most important discoveries is the role of vitamin D deficiency on the course of multiple sclerosis.
Sources of selenium in food:
Products rich in selenium are organ meats, mainly kidneys and sea foods, i.e. fish (mainly cod, mackerel and herring) and crustaceans. In plant products, the most selenium is found in legume seeds (mainly in peas and lentils), in garlic and nuts (mainly Brazil nuts).
Supplementation with selenium:
Supplements which contain selenium: