In our previous post about zinc, we discussed why it’s important to get zinc to stay healthy. What about selenium? This is a mineral that doesn’t get as much attention as it should. So let’s take a look at it.
What is Selenium?
Selenium is a mineral that naturally occurs in soli, and it can be found in water as well as some foods. It can also be artificially added to some foods. Most importantly, it is a nutritional necessity. The mineral exists in two forms. It appears in an inorganic form as selenate and selenite. There are also the organic forms selenomethionine and selenocysteine.
The inorganic forms exist in soil, which plants will then absorb and convert to organic forms. Most selenium exists as selenomethionine, which is found in human and animal tissue.
Why is Selenium important?
We don’t need a whole lot, but it is great for our metabolic functions. But just like zinc, it’s great for our immune system and thus overall health. Recently, selenium has gotten more attention because of the antioxidant aspect of the mineral. Antioxidants are valuable because of the way they protect cells.
Selenium is also vital for the liver to function at the highest productivity.
A selenium deficiency might be the cause of catching frequent flus or colds.
Without a proper amount of selenium, we are more prone to infection among other issues. A deficiency in selenium can lead to a lot of issues. Without it, your body is more vulnerable to attack. Because of this, infections are more likely, and recovering from those infections is even harder.
It has to do with the way viruses replicate in the body. Selenium helps your body fight against the ability for viruses to replicate.
Most people have healthy levels of selenium, but certain health conditions like HIV or Crohn’s disease have been connected with selenium deficiency. People fed through intravenous can also have a risk of selenium deficiency.
How to get Selenium?
Humans don’t actually need a whole lot of selenium to be healthy. Most adults really only need about 55 micrograms a day. Pregnant and breastfeeding women will need a little more than the average, but for the most part, diets provide enough selenium.
It is important to note that selenium content in food really depends on growing conditions and the soil used.
The best sources of natural selenium are similar to those for zinc. These are the best places to get the advised amount of selenium: nuts, like Brazil nuts and walnuts; a variety of fresh and saltwater fish, like tuna, cod, red snapper, and herring; Beef and poultry; and Grains.