What is Selenium?
- Selenium is an essential mineral which is found in small amounts in the body.
- It works as an antioxidant, especially when combined with vitamin E. What an antioxidant does is help to fight the damaging particles in the body called free radicals.
- Free radicals are things that can severely damage the cell membrane as well as DNA, and could potentially contribute to aging and also heart disease and cancer as well as a number of other conditions.
- Antioxidants can reduce or even prevent the damage of free radicals by neutralizing them.
- Selenium also plays a big role in thyroid function and your immune system. The immune system needs this mineral in order to operate properly.
Selenium in Food:
- Brazil Nuts
- Sunflower Seeds
- Fish (tuna, halibut, sardines, flounder, salmon)
- Shellfish (oysters, mussels, shrimp, clams, scallops)
- Meat (Beef, liver, lamb, pork)
- Poultry (chicken, turkey)
- Mushrooms (button, crimini, shiitake)
- Grains (wheat germ, barley, brown rice, oats)
Too much or Too little:
Too much Selenium
Selenium in high doses can indeed be toxic. Although Selenium toxicity is rare in the United States, with this being true, high levels of Selenium and high blood levels can result in a condition called Selenosis.
- brittle hair
- brittle nails
- hair loss
- gastrointestinal upset
- skin rash
- mild nerve damage
- garlic-breath odor
Too little Selenium
Selenium deficiency is not thought to cause any short term illnesses. Although this is true, it predisposes children and adolescents to Keshan disease and Kashin-Beck disease. These specific conditions affect the heart, bones, and joints.
- This disease is a potentially fatal form of cardiomyopathy, which is a disease of the heart muscle. This disease is found in areas where the selenium level in the soil is low.
- It was first found in the Keshan province of China.
- The only treatment would be a Selenium supplement.
- This is known as 'Big Bone Disease'.
- It is a disease that works at disabling the bones and joints.
- This leads to stunted grown and deformity of the joints.
Recommended Daily Allowances (RDA)
· Children 1 - 3 years: 20 mcg
· Children 4 - 8 years: 30 mcg
· Children 9 - 13: 40 mcg
· Children 14 - 18: 55 mcg
· 19 and older: 55 mcg
· Pregnant women: 60 mcg
· Breastfeeding women: 70 mcg