Selenium

Selenium

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Overview

Selenium is an essential mineral for humans. Since your body doesn’t produce it, you must obtain it through food (or supplements). Selenium is a mineral found in the soil and it naturally appears in water and some foods.

Importance

Selenium has many functions in the body including:

  • Acting in concert with selenoproteins, selenium-dependent enzymes
  • Assisting glutathione peroxidase in reducing reactive oxygen species
  • Interacting with nutrients involved in the antioxidant balance of the cell
  • Deiodination of T4.

Food Sources

Selenium can be found in several foods including:

  • Brazil nuts
  • Seafood
  • Brown rice
  • Quinoa
  • Whole wheat
  • Walnuts
  • Milk
  • Mushrooms
  • Barley.

Deficiencies

Common symptoms and resulting conditions of selenium deficiency include:

  • Limited glutathione activity
  • Juvenile cardiomyopathy
  • Chondrodystrophy.

However, your individual response could be different. If you suspect a health problem or deficiency in certain nutrients, please see your primary health care provider (doctor, naturopath, etc). They can help unravel the complexity of your physiology.

Excess/Toxicity

Common symptoms of selenium excess/toxicity include:

  • Dermatologic lesions
  • Hair and nail brittleness
  • Gastrointestinal disturbances
  • Skin rash
  • Fatigue
  • Nervous system abnormalities.

However, your individual response could be different. If you suspect a health problem or an excess of certain nutrients, please see your primary health care provider (doctor, naturopath, etc). They can help unravel the complexity of your physiology.

Recipe

For recipes rich in selenium, check out any of the Encyclopedia of Food entries for food items listed above!

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At a Glance

Selenium is an essential mineral that must be obtained through food. Among its various roles, selenium works with other nutrients to create antioxidant balance in our body’s cells. Selenium is naturally occurring in water and soil. You can find it in foods such as seafood, brown rice, quinoa, mushrooms, milk, and more.