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14 Lesser Known Benefits Of Selenium For Health, Skin And Hair

A type of mineral found in the soil, selenium is a key mineral required for metabolism. The mineral is naturally found in water and several foods and is required for longevity and [1] optimal health. The trace mineral is beneficial for improving your immunity and as it is an essential mineral, it has to be obtained through foods.

The selenium requirement of your body is in small quantities, however, it is critical to the proper functioning of your body. The mineral is of two types, organic and inorganic. That is, selenium can also be acquired through [2] supplements. And both the types are equally beneficial for your body.

Regular consumption of selenium helps create a protective layer around your body, which helps guard your body against various [3] diseases and illness. From improving your metabolic activity to limiting early ageing signs, selenium can be considered as a critical mineral relevant for your body and mind. Selenium is safe to be consumed by children and adults.

Best Sources Of Selenium

Consuming foods that have a naturally high content of selenium helps benefit your body in various ways. Some of the natural sources of selenium [4] are mentioned below (amount per 100 gram).

  • Brazil nuts contain 1917 micrograms,
  • yellowfin tuna contain 36.5 micrograms,
  • oysters contain 63.7micrograms,
  • pork chops contain 33.8 micrograms,
  • beef 36 contain micrograms,
  • lean chicken breast contains 31.9 micrograms,
  • tofu contains 17.4 micrograms,
  • whole wheat pasta contains 73 micrograms,
  • shrimp contain 38 micrograms,
  • shiitake mushrooms contain 24.8 micrograms,
  • mussels contain 44.8 micrograms,
  • sunflower seeds contain 53 micrograms,
  • salmon contain 29.9 micrograms,
  • anchovy contain 36.5 micrograms, and
  • chia seeds contain 55.2 micrograms.

Daily Dosage Of Selenium

The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of the mineral describes the amount of selenium that has to be consumed on a [5] daily basis. It can be acquired naturally or through supplements. The maximum limit of selenium in safe dosage is 400 micrograms a day in adults. Any amount more than that will cause an overdose.

  • Children 1 to 3 years - 20 micrograms per day
  • Children 4 to 8 years - 30 micrograms per day
  • Children 9 to 13 years - 40 micrograms per day
  • Adults and children 14 and up - 55 micrograms per day
  • Pregnant women - 60 micrograms per day
  • Breastfeeding women - 70 micrograms per day

Benefits Of Selenium

From acting as a protection against cancerous cells to improving cognitive function, the mineral is highly advantageous to your body.

1. Improves heart health

Consuming selenium-rich foods help boost your cardiovascular health. Being anti-inflammatory in nature, the mineral helps increase the [6] blood flow, and destroy the harmful free radicals that cause oxidative stress. Studies have shown that selenium aids in reducing the chances of heart diseases. When combined with other nutrients such as vitamin E and beta-carotene, the mineral contributes towards normalising the [7] cholesterol levels.

It also helps improve the levels of the antioxidant glutathione peroxidase and reduce the levels of oxidative stress in your body. Selenium restricts the accumulation of plaque in the arteries, and limits the onset of [8] atherosclerosis.

2. Manages diabetes

By boosting the levels of glucose in your body, selenium helps in regulating the metabolic processes. Consuming selenium is helpful for an individual suffering from [9] diabetes as it helps produce an adequate amount of insulin required and thus reduce the levels of oxidative stress. This can help cure issues such as retinopathy, cataracts and neuropathy.

3. Improves the reproductive system

Selenium is known to improve fertility in both men and women. It helps improve the blood flow to the reproductive organs and [10] maintain proper sperm motility. Regular consumption of selenium-rich foods or supplements aid in improving the sperm locomotion as well. Low selenium concentration can result in male infertility. Likewise, the antioxidants in selenium improve the sperm's chances of [11] fertilising the egg.

4. Balances thyroid function

Currently, various studies have been conducted to examine the relationship between selenium deficiency and [12] thyroid function. Selenium helps in maintaining hormones related to the functioning of the thyroid glands. The mineral carries out the conversion of the T4 thyroid hormones to T3, which is critical for the proper functioning of your body.

Selenium functions as a protector of the thyroid by regulating the production of reactive oxygen within the [13] gland. This acts to protect the gland from antibodies that can develop thyroid diseases.

5. Boosts immunity

Selenium functions as an immunity booster and protects your body from various diseases. The mineral is critical for the [14] regular functioning of your immune system and can restrict the development of harmful viruses, such as HIV. The antioxidant property of the mineral helps in reducing the inflammation and oxidative stress, giving way for an [15] improved immune system.

Studies have revealed that individuals suffering from [16] HIV have shown an improvement on using selenium, as it has slowed down the progression of the viruses.

6. Fights cancer

Various studies have been conducted to study the impact of [17] selenium on reducing the risk of cancer development. It is asserted that the mineral is effective in reducing the risks of mortality caused by cancer and cancer incidence. The mineral is said to have more impact on restricting the onset of colorectal, prostate, liver, and lungs cancer.

By attaching itself to protective antioxidants like [18] glutathione, selenium reduces the risks caused by the cancerous cells to the DNA, thereby stopping the spread of cancerous cells and [19] tumour growth.

7. Improves mental health

Regular consumption can help improve your psychological health. In the current scenario, almost every individual suffers from stress. The increasing levels of stress can inherently cause a decline and deterioration to your stable mental health. Regular consumption [20] of selenium is pointed out to have a positive impact on improving psychological health. It is also proven to have improved the mental health of individuals suffering from depression as well.

8. Manages neurological diseases

As aforementioned, selenium is proven to have a positive impact on improving an individual's mental health. Neurological diseases such as [21] Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease are believed to be results of oxidative stress, along with other factors. Individuals suffering from Alzheimer's are proven to have a selenium deficiency in their [22] bloodstream.

Supplementing the mineral into the individuals' daily diet has shown positive results such as improved verbal fluency and other physical functions. It also functions to reduce the risk of developing neurological diseases.

9. Relieves asthma symptoms

Individuals suffering from chronic asthma have very low levels of [23] serotonin. Studies conducted on the topic have revealed the relationship between the two and pointed out that on consuming selenium supplements the symptoms have reduced predominantly. Selenium helps reduce the inflammation in the airways as well as the oxidative stress and help [24] improve the breathing.

Also read: 10 Tips To Prevent Asthma Attacks

10. Increases longevity

Selenium is extremely beneficial and critical for your health. The mineral helps improve your life expectancy by improving your immunity, fighting off [25] diseases among various others. From arthritis to asthma, the uses and benefits of selenium is plenty. Consuming selenium helps your body from being affected by critical conditions like heart diseases and thyroid disorder. Being antioxidant and anti-inflammatory in nature, the mineral defends your body from [26] succumbing to serious ailments.

11. Prevents premature ageing

Selenium actively fights off the free radical cells present in your body. It destroys the free radicals that damage the cells and [27] prevents the onset of wrinkles, blemishes and other signs of ageing from appearing. It also helps your skin from being affected by the oxidative stress. The antioxidants in the mineral are beneficial in keeping your skin young and healthy.

12. Treats acne

Selenium works wonders on improving the quality of your skin. It is extremely [28] beneficial in treating and getting rid of acne. It is considered a natural treatment for curing acne, as selenium helps to unplug the plugged pores on your skin.

13. Improves hair quality

Selenium supplements work wonders in protecting your hair from any damage. It not only boost your hair growth but also reduces dandruff. Selenium [29] is a major component in many of anti-dandruff shampoos due to its ability to destroy dandruff causing fungus Malassezia. The mineral also strengthens your scalp and thus help reduces hair fall. It is also beneficial in treating grey hair.

14. Helps detoxify

Selenium helps your body by getting rid of the unwanted toxins and keeping [30] it healthy. The mineral detoxifies your body to get rid of the harmful wastes accumulated from environmental damage and processed foods to keep your organs healthy. It fights the heavy pollutants that can cause [31] various diseases.

Also read: 10 Foods High In Selenium Content


Selenium is necessary for your health. But, it has to be consumed in a controlled manner so as to get the benefits out of it. Excessive consumption of selenium can cause various dangers and is toxic.

  • Avoid consuming too many Brazil nuts due to its high [32] content of selenium.
  • Avoid consuming selenium if you are using medications and supplements such as chemotherapy drugs, niacin, antacids, cholesterol-lowering drugs or birth control pills.
  • Selenium toxicity usually occurs from selenium [33] supplements and not natural selenium. The signs of selenium toxicity include facial flushing, dizziness, nausea, hair loss, muscle soreness, tremors and vomiting.
  • Avoid consuming selenium if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Do not feed selenium to [34] infants.
  • In severe cases, it can cause liver complications, serious intestinal and neurological symptoms, kidney and heart [35] problems.
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