When it comes to dietary minerals, calcium, iron, magnesium, sodium, and a few more get all the attention.
There’s another one that is often forgotten. But it’s at least as important. It’s selenium.
Selenium is an essential mineral. That means it’s crucial to your health and your body can’t synthesize it. It has to be obtained in your diet.1
Selenium is needed for a wide range of basic biological functions. These include immunity, thyroid hormone metabolism, and male and female fertility.
The daily recommended dose for adults is 55 mcg. But amounts up to 400 mcg are well tolerated and may have significant health benefits. For example…
Selenium is a strong antioxidant. Antioxidants are compounds that fight oxidation. Oxidation leads to excess free radicals, which can be damaging to your cells. Oxidative stress is linked to heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s.
One meta-analysis reviewed 69 studies that included more than 350,000 subjects. Results showed that high blood levels of selenium were associated with lower risk of several types of cancer.2
Selenium can also improve quality of life for cancer patients undergoing radiation therapy. A study from Germany’s Lippe Hospital found selenium supplementation reduced radiation-induced diarrhea in cancer patients.3
There’s evidence that selenium reduces age-related cognitive decline.
Research has found that people with Alzheimer’s tend to have lower blood levels of selenium.4
And a study at Shenzhen University in China looked at a mouse model of Alzheimer’s. Afflicted rodents given selenium were found to have improved brain function.5
Better Heart Health
One meta-analysis from the Bloomberg School of Public Health looked at data from 25 different studies. Researchers found that a 50% increase in selenium was linked to a 24% reduction in heart disease risk.6
Another review analyzed 16 studies involving over 433,000 subjects with heart disease. Subjects who took selenium supplements had lower levels of C-reactive protein. This is a marker of inflammation. It is strongly linked to heart attack risk.7
5 Great Sources of Selenium
You can get selenium from supplements, but it is available in a number of foods as well.8
- Brazil nuts. They have more selenium than any other food. Just one ounce contains 777% of the daily recommended value (DV).
- Tuna. Three ounces of canned tuna has 131% of the DV.
- Beef. Six ounces equals 94% DV.
- Eggs. One has 21% DV.
- Yogurt. A cup of plain, no-sugar-added yogurt has 11% DV.
Selenium is a must for everyone. Don’t forget the forgotten mineral!
References: 1 https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Selenium-HealthProfessional/ 2 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4726178/ 3 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20133068/ 4 https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352873717300409 5 https://content.iospress.com/articles/journal-of-alzheimers-disease/jad131805 6 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17023702 7 https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/selenium-benefits#section3 8 https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Selenium-HealthProfessional/