Benefits of selenium

The benefits of selenium

In 1980, selenium was recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) as one of the indispensable components of nutrition. And this is completely deserved, because selenium is a very important element. From the article you will learn what the benefits of selenium are, what foods contain selenium and how to get enough selenium.


Selenium is famous for its pronounced antioxidant properties: it reduces the amount of fat peroxidation products. Thanks to this, the anti-cancer effects of selenium on the body are implemented. Selenium stimulates the immune system, contributes to the normal growth of cells, accelerates the healing and recovery processes in the body.

The beneficial properties of selenium were proved only in the 1960s, before that selenium was considered toxic. But, as they say, everything is good in moderation. Indeed, doses higher than recommended may cause selenium poisoning. But in the modern world it is very difficult to get an “overdose” of selenium, since it is contained in small quantities and by no means in all products. Read more about this in the second part of the article.

Back in the 1960s. Then scientists proved that selenium deficiency is associated with a disease such as dystrophy of the heart muscle. With selenium deficiency, vessels, liver, pancreas suffer. Dystrophy of the pancreas leads to the fact that fat ceases to be absorbed and, accordingly, there is a deficiency of fat-soluble vitamins (A, E, D, K). In addition, the effect of selenium on reproductive function was found. Men with adequate intake of selenium got rid of infertility, while women reduced the likelihood of miscarriages.

But, of course, the most stunning was the discovery of the anticancer properties of selenium. The administration of such a powerful antioxidant as selenium to animals was accompanied by a marked decrease in the number of tumors. Further experiments on animals were confirmed by epidemiological observations: in those areas where the selenium content in the soils was medium and high, mortality from lymphoma, cancer of the digestive system, lung cancer and breast cancer was significantly less, in contrast to areas with low the content of selenium.

The biochemical mechanisms by which selenium exerts its anticancer effect are as follows:

  • stimulation of immunity. Every day, cancer cells form in every person, but as long as the immune system is strong enough, it can prevent the development of a tumor in the body.
  • protection of membranes and cell DNA. Being an antioxidant, selenium protects the cell membranes and also prevents the genetic change of DNA, thus contributing to the normal growth of cells.

In addition to cancer patients, selenium deficiency is found in patients with cystic fibrosis, with polycystic infections, bronchial asthma, thyroid diseases, autoimmune diseases, and alcoholism. Naturally, such patients should think about the sources of selenium entering their body.

So, selenium is necessary for:

  • cancer prevention;
  • increase immunity;
  • reproductive system health;
  • acceleration of healing processes, including erosion and ulcers;
  • treatment of cancer patients with primary therapy;
  • treatment of patients with asthma, patients with autoimmune diseases, diseases of the cardiovascular system, liver and pancreas, with polycystic diseases and nodes of various localizations;
  • protect the body from heavy metals, including strontium.

It is important to understand that modern people, often living in adverse environmental conditions and chronic stress, urgently need selenium as the strongest antioxidant.

Foods rich in selenium (per 100 g of product):

  • Brazil nut - 2000 mcg
  • coconut - 810 mcg
  • pistachios - 450 mcg
  • pork kidneys - 270 mcg
  • dried oyster mushrooms and porcini mushrooms - 100 mcg
  • tuna, lamb kidneys, crabs, lobsters - 90 mcg
  • chicken, pork, beef, duck liver - 40-70 mcg
  • eggs (including quail), garlic, raw pork lard, corn, rice, beans, feta cheese, white bread - 20-40 mcg
  • semolina, peas, buckwheat, oatmeal, cheese - 10-15 mcg

However, it is worthwhile to understand that not every day we eat in proper quantities seafood and high-quality Brazil nuts. And some people don’t tolerate seafood at all. Pork kidneys are also far from the number one product on our table. In other words, in real life it is almost impossible to satisfy the need for selenium. Therefore, to maintain a normal life and immunity needed for  supplementation of selenium in the composition of vitamin and mineral complexes.

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