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Nowadays more and more people are starting to take better care of their health. 

Of course – eating healthy and exercising is the best way to be in good shape and health condition. And still to achieve maximum effect – it is important to take food supplements like vitamins and minerals. They are improving and supporting our bodies, especially in the cold seasons.

One of the essential trace minerals is Selenium. Usually our bodies store it in the tissues and muscles, especially in the skeletal muscles. The intake comes mostly from foods that contain trace amounts. Some of these foods are meats, seafood, brazil nuts, cooked brown rice, eggs, and whole grains. 

However, the mineral may be destroyed during processing your meals, so it is good to take it as a food supplement.

Why is Selenium important?

Although people need small amounts of that mineral, it is important for our metabolism and not only. Selenium has antioxidant properties. We all know that antioxidants are important for protecting the cells from damage. 

Also there are studies that suggest selenium may help in preventing HIV from progressing to AIDS. Those studies even indicate that the mineral has the ability to reduce the risk of miscarriage.

Other researchers are taking a look into the link between selenium intake and how it affects some conditions. They vary from infertility to dandruff and asthma, and arthritis. In any case, the results are not strictly conclusive.

Selenium could help with thyroid health; cardiovascular health, cognitive function, etc.

Some men take 100 micrograms of the mineral on daily bases as preventive measurement for prostate cancer.

According to a study selenium supplements may have an effect on cancer. Of course it depends on the type of cancer and on the type of selenium. People can take selenium combined with multivitamins and other supplements. They may contain it in different forms, for example – sodium selenate and selenomethionine.

How much to take?

In worldwide overview selenium deficiency is rare, sometimes it takes years to be developed. Usually it happens in areas with very low selenium content in the soil. 

No matter if the soil is rich or not in that mineral, the recommended daily intake is 55 mcg for adults. During pregnancy it is good 60 mcg to be consumed and during lactating – 70 mcg per day.

For children the recommended allowance vary depending on their age:

  • Between  age  1 -3  – 20 mcg daily;
  • Between age 4-8 – 30 mcg daily;
  • Between age 9 – 13 – 40 mcg daily;

For adults the maximum intake is 400 mcg a day. Everything above that is not safe and is overdose.

Overdosing with Selenium can lead to the following negative effects: skin rashes; nausea; decaying or mottled teeth; garlic-smell breath; metallic taste in the mouth; neurological anomalies; irritability; hair loss; fatigue; brittle nails. In some extreme situations, overdosing with the mineral may lead to heart and kidney failure or death.

Remember – food supplements are not a substitute for a varied diet. Always consult your doctor or nutritionist.

Dr. Disha Trivedi

Author Dr. Disha Trivedi

Dr. Disha Trivedi is PhD in Molecular Genetics and Biotechnology. She is working as a medical writer and researcher at MVS Pharma GmbH.

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