Selenium: Contraindications, Properties And Benefits

It is important to know that selenium is an antioxidant, but in turn , it is a supplement to vitamin E. That is why today both antioxidants are highly recommended for acting positively against cancer and cardiovascular diseases, among others.

Microminerals such as selenium are essential for the body , since many functions are carried out through them and are decisive for the stimulation and obtaining of hormones . We can obtain them naturally through food and that is why a balanced diet is necessary, it is achieved in fish, cereals, in the viscera, etc.

Likewise, they are necessary for the bones and their growth and because they are an antioxidant, it reduces the aging of the cells. In addition, it is important not to combine the consumption of selenium with anticoagulants, since these considerably increase its function.

Selenium is considered a trace element, since only small amounts are essential for the body, because the absence or excess of selenium can be harmful to the functioning of the body.

Selenium and its functions

  • It is a source of antioxidant, therefore, it is essential to reduce the deterioration of cells and is beneficial to reduce the chances of developing malignant cells in the body.
  • Supports the functions of the immune system.
  • It is a complete essential of vitamin E.
  • Take care of the body against the reactions of vaccines.
  • It is being studied for being beneficial for reproductivity, mainly in males, inhibiting mortality and increasing semen.

How does selenium work in the body?

Selenium basically accumulates and exerts its function from the liver , the kidneys, the testes , the pancreas and the seminal glands; since they are the producers of a large volume of fluid in the body.

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And it depends on how much selenium is consumed, since it is not reproduced in the body, it is only stored . Therefore, it obeys the kind of food you eat, whether it is animal protein or through cereals or vegetables, where its content of selenium in measure, will depend on whether the soils where they come from are rich in selenium.

The concentration of selenium that the body absorbs is given in the intestines according to the foods that contain selenium. It is stipulated that the concentration of selenium that a food can have is absorbed only a little more than half, approximately only 60 percent is used by the body.

After being processed and used by the body, it is excreted through urine and through feces. In the case of men there is a difference, since selenium can be expelled in ejaculation through semen. For this reason, the benefit of selenium in relation to the production of semen and increased male fertility.

How is selenium obtained?

As we mentioned earlier, selenium can be found both in foods of vegetable origin or also through animal origin . And since the body needs low portions of selenium to function as a protector against a number of diseases. Therefore, it is not necessary to be substituted for this mineral as long as a healthy and balanced diet is maintained.

There are different types of soil and depending on these, some tend to be richer with a concentration of selenium than others , so food grown in lands with low levels of this mineral, as a consequence their food is also low in a concentration of selenium. .

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Everything is proportional, therefore there are studies showing that the inhabitants who consume these foods grown in this type of soil require a more selenium intake through selenium supplements. Since they tend to suffer more disorders due to lack of this mineral in the body, increasing the levels of heart disease, thyroid and cancer.

Are there selenium supplements?

Yes, there are selenium supplements. These are normally indicated under medical supervision. Commonly the most indicated selenium is with vitamin E , in the form of a food supplement of these compounds; Remember that selenium only needs a small dose for the body and the combination of vitamin E is vital for many functions and its antioxidant power.

Commonly in the majority there is no selenium deficit, but there are cases where its administration is necessary, such as in patients where they have had a strict intravenous feeding regimen for long periods of time, where the myocardium is affected by the disease. produced by lack of selenium, which is known as Keshan disease.

Also, a type of disease that affects the bones and joints attributed to Kashin-Beck disorder; likewise, a product of the selenium deficit. Likewise, the selenium supplement is given to babies who are affected with the disease of cretinism, since it is a type of disease that causes problems with mental and physical development including deformities.

How do you get selenium supplements?

Selenium supplements can be found in two ways, depending on the needs that are required and according to the conditions of the patient who requires to consume the supplement of this mineral.

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  • Selenium organically : this can be found in the form of tablets, in selenium yeast mode and through capsules. They are indicated for their antioxidant action together with vitamins, these have benefits both to prevent the oxidation of cells and prevent muscle function and strengthen the immune system.
  • Inorganic selenium: this type of supplement is less indicated due to its slower action in the body and mode of absorption is less than the organic supplement, but with the same purpose.

Foods that are major sources of selenium

This trace element, like selenium, is mostly found in foods that have a high protein content in conjunction with amino acids. These make up the so-called selenocysteine ​​(a type of canonical amino acid) and also selenomethionine.

In such a way, we can find selenium in foods that are a source of protein and will depend on the soils where the high selenium content of vegetables and fruits is grown; although in the same way, it will contain servings of selenium.

This micromineral or trace element is obtained in a wide variety of foods such as: in vegetables, garlic, onion, fish, shellfish, meats, chicken visors, chestnuts, Brazil nuts, mushrooms, grains, in wheat and its derivatives, fruits dry, among other foods.

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The Brazil nut and its selenium content

This dried fruit is considered the number one food in contribution of selenium to the body, since it has a high value of selenium, only a few of Brazil nuts achieve high selenium values ​​( approximately between 5 or 6 nuts ), it is ideal for people who want to greatly increase their levels of selenium in the body.

Also with this dried fruit such as the Brazil nut, you must be careful with the consumption of its daily portions, so that it should not be eaten in excess since it can cause adverse reactions to those that are wanted; Because the daily value of selenium in the body is minimal for good organ function.

Likewise, other nuts provide selenium, but in a lower concentration of this micro mineral. Among them are almonds and walnuts, followed by pistachios or cashews .

What are the plant-type foods that have selenium?

There are different foods that contain traces of selenium in their nutrients and, to a great extent, the spaces where they were cultivated affect the percentage of selenium in their soils ; but they also conserve selenium, let’s look at these foods according to their vegetable type classification:

  • Other nuts , among those we have an important value of pumpkin seeds , also fennel seed.
  • The types of vegetables according to their amount of selenium have nettle (leaves only), the garlic, the onion and cucumbers; in the same way, but to a lesser extent , spinach , asparagus , fresh lettuce , cauliflower and tomatoes.
  • The cereals are also rich in selenium among the main ones are: oats , the corn , and a variety of breads either full or normal.

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  • Among the fruits are mainly grapes , plums , melons, pears, strawberries, peaches.
  • variety of legumes , among the main ones are beans and
  • Within the mushrooms, the mushrooms.
  • Also seaweed, especially is the giant sargassum , the best known for its source of a series of minerals including selenium, magnesium, calcium and iodine.
  • And other substituents with high values ​​of selenium necessary for daily intake is wheat germ and also yeast, but beer.

What are the animal-source foods that have selenium?

Selenium is found in greater quantity in this type of food , since its animal proteins are rich in this micromineral, they are also easy to consume and are in large part of the intake of many people who eat a healthy and balanced diet.

  • Fish and shellfish are important sources of selenium, but crabs are considered to have the highest selenium content.
  • The meat, either beef white or red including pork.
  • With a high percentage of selenium intake is visors either chicken or others, such as kidneys, the liver , among others.
  • All dairy derivatives . It should be noted that the highest selenium milk is breast milk.
  • The eggs either chicken or quail.

How does selenium deficiency affect the body?

The body by not consuming sources of selenium in its most vital proportions can produce a series of damages that harm the body, all this is reflected in a series of diseases where low values ​​of this element are observed. Among the most common factors are:

  • It weakens the immune system and is prone to severe illness or infection.

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  • It directly affects the muscles.
  • Inflammation of the pancreas, causing other serious problems for the body.
  • Instability in blood levels.
  • In men it affects the generation of healthy sperm.
  • Heart diseases.

Likewise, it has been shown that selenium deficiency not only affects the heart system or is the cause of hypothyroidism, but by weakening the immune system this causes the body to contract other diseases, either nutritional or affect certain organs or infectious diseases, among others.

It should be noted that there are few cases with selenium deficiency, mainly in countries where the concentrations of this mineral in soils are minimal. There are diseases diagnosed due to the deficiency of this mineral. These diseases are more diagnosed in China, Siberia and Korea because their soils are poor in selenium.

What is selenium for?

Selenium is very important for the body since the main function of this mineral is basically linked to helping the body in the hormonal and immune systems . Allowing in this way, to activate the defenses against any disease. Therefore, it is highly related to preventing and controlling various diseases, among which cancer stands out.

Low levels of this micromineral in the body give signs that the body is not working well and is related to the possibility of developing a severe silent infection, whether in the presence of cancer or another disease that attacks the immune system.

What are the appropriate doses of selenium according to age?

Maintaining the body with minimal amounts of selenium required by the body according to age is essential, which is why it is necessary to supply and preserve this mineral in the body, since low levels affect it considerably. Approximately the amount of selenium according to age and the recommended daily intake (RDI) we have :

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  • 15 mcg of selenium for neonates under 6 months.
  • 20 mcg of selenium for babies 7 months to 3 years.
  • 30 mcg of selenium for children ages 4 to 8 years.
  • 40 mcg of selenium for children 9 years to 13 years of age.
  • 55 mcg of selenium for the adolescent and adult stage.
  • 60 mcg of selenium for pregnant women.
  • 70 mcg of selenium for lactating women.

How do I know the amounts of selenium in food?

It is possible to recognize numerically the doses of selenium necessary for the body for each age, but at the same time we have no idea how to maintain those quantities in the body. The first thing to keep in mind is that only through a healthy and balanced diet, since selenium is not produced by the body, it is only present in nature and in food.

Now, to meet the needs of the body in terms of maintaining the amounts of selenium for its proper functioning, you must keep in mind the ratio of selenium proportion that each food can provide; This can help you decide how to combine foods in a way that is as balanced as possible between the amounts of carbohydrates, vegetables and proteins.

It is stipulated that to obtain approximately 50 mcg of the micromineral selenium in the body, it is necessary to ingest about 200 grams of only fresh fish or, in the case of meat, 350 grams , or approximately 200 grams in eggs or about 1.6 full liquid milk. liters or 1.25 g in fruits or 6 kg in fresh vegetables or 2.8 kg in bread.

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This is where the combination of each food group is seen , where a significant portion of selenium can be extracted and at the same time, obtain a completely healthy diet so that the body performs its functions normally and maintains the active immune system, to protect the body.

Selenium and its high benefits

This natural element is increasingly studied for its action against certain diseases such as cancer or degenerative diseases, as well as for other benefits for the body. Therefore, it is necessary that we see a little its high benefits:

Source of antioxidant

Being an antioxidant, this micromineral benefits by protecting cells by counteracting the damage caused by free radicals, which act in our body causing cellular aging and other diseases that affect the immune system.

Likewise, as it is a high antioxidant, its activity is more effective than other vitamins; and selenium combined with the consumption of proteins, allows to stimulate the growth of completely healthy new cells, significantly benefiting our body.

Protects and counteracts the effects of degenerative diseases.

This micromineral as an activator of the immune system , sends a response to protect and control the functions of our body so that it constantly works to reduce degenerative processes in the body, likewise, so that it does not cause other damage. It is widely used for some types of treatments for cancer, Alzheimer’s, and other diseases.

Increases fertility levels.

Selenium is highly recommended today to treat infertility problems, since it affects the reproductive system of men in producing healthy sperm. Low selenium level can be a cause of male infertility. Similarly, selenium is necessary for women to increase their fertility and achieve a healthy pregnancy.

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Slows cellular aging

Selenium combined with vitamin E is an excellent ally to retain cellular aging reflected in the skin, since it reduces the action of free radicals that are responsible for producing a negative alteration in cells; leading to the deterioration of cells causing unsightly blemishes, skin damage and accelerating the inevitable wrinkles.

Intervenes in infection processes

It exerts a defense function against infectious processes that attack the organism. Adequate levels of selenium in the body prevent environmental or bacterial viral processes . It is also a complement to treatments in people with AIDS, since it acts directly to help the immune system and also in other diseases such as influence.

It is a natural detoxifier

This micromineral is also a source to naturally detoxify the body , since its components help stop the toxicity of other elements, because it blocks their effects on the body.

There are many highly toxic elements that we could come into contact with for little knowledge, such as mercury, lead, cadmium, among other elements that are harmful in minimal amounts.

Therefore, selenium acts in minimal amounts of these highly toxic elements, since these heavy elements enter our body when we are exposed to an environment contaminated by any of these highly toxic elements, when we eat contaminated food or water that is extracted from a polluted aquifer.

Properties of selenium in medicinal treatments

Every day the use of selenium for medical treatments in certain diseases becomes more common, since the study of this mineral has achieved excellent results in terms of its power of action against a series of diseases . Although it is still being studied for many other disorders, let’s look at the diseases in which it has had the highest incidence:

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Selenium and its action in thyroid problems

Selenium especially intervenes in the thyroid hormones , these hormones are in charge of working in our body, as a regulating agent of the body’s metabolism , with selenium being essential to help keep the levels of this hormone stable and function normally.

Similarly, the benefit to treat hypothyroidism due to chronic thyroiditis or Hashimoto’s thyroid has been proven . It is considered to be a problem caused by the immune system , which, due to an alteration in its functioning, acts negatively on the thyroid, inflaming it and decreasing the generation of thyroid hormone.

For the lack of this generation of hormones in a natural way, it is recommended to substitute a treatment of synthetic thyroid hormones and as a supplement 200 mcg daily of selenium, to reduce the effects caused by hypothyroidism.

Likewise, selenium allows to reduce the rejection generated by the body directed against the thyroid and reduce the symptoms of this condition, the most common symptoms are that it produces a feeling of general discomfort , such as hair loss , the joints tend to be rigid , and those who suffer from this disease may be constantly cold .

Selenium in inflammatory diseases

This mineral element among its properties that benefit the body, is its anti-inflammatory power, since selenium stimulates the production of an enzyme that is responsible for preventing or blocking the generation of prostaglandin, these substances are the cause of inflammation.

Selenium together with the vitamin helps greatly in inflammatory problems, including: lupus disease and treating arthritis. People with this type of condition have very low levels of selenium.

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Selenium in the cardiovascular system

The consumption of this micro mineral is necessary to prevent problems related to heart disease, since together with vitamin A and vitamin E, they are sources to reduce high cholesterol and other factors that lead to these heart problems. Also, people who have suffered heart attacks have in common a low dose of selenium in the body.

Similarly, the reduction of cholesterol and at the same time its oxidation, which prevents cholesterol from accumulating in the artery and from becoming inflamed thanks to the action of selenium; This being essential for the blood to flow normally through the bloodstream, without obstruction or decrease in circulation, since its arteries are not blocked.

So it prevents a myriad of heart problems, reducing the risk of a heart attack, cerebral thrombosis, hypertensive problems, circulatory problems and cardiac arrhythmia among the most common diseases.

Selenium and its action against cancer

Today there are numerous studies regarding selenium and cancer prevention, since it is considered a micro mineral that acts to prevent the stimulation and production of cancer cells. Its power of action has not been determined, but as we know, selenium is a protector of the immune system.

Only cases have been investigated where this disease has incidence in patients with low selenium values and the formation of cancer in soft parts of the body such as the stomach, colon, liver, lung and pancreas.

In the same way, selenium is used in treatments of certain types of cancer, both in the cancers already mentioned and in other types of cancer such as prostate and skin cancer, which are increasingly seen significantly. Likewise, selenium is used to counteract the symptoms produced by chemotherapy treatments.

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Selenium for eye care

This mineral element, due to its antioxidant effect, is beneficial for sight since it produces enzymes that are in charge of protecting vision, due to its antioxidant effect it prevents the formation of diseases that affect sight, such as: in the most serious case, loss vision, decreased night vision and the appearance of cataracts, among other causes.

Selenium for dandruff

Selenium, as it has an anti-inflammatory power, acts on the scalp to prevent and combat dandruff , which manifests itself with inflammation and flaking of the scalp skin.

Selenium is widely used in the manufacture of shampoos that counteracts this condition. The combination of selenium and sulfur is also naturally used, through a chemical reaction known as selenium sulfide, which is an excellent ally to mitigate the generation of dandruff and reduce the symptoms it produces , such as irritation, excessive scales, itch.

Can selenium be toxic?

Excessive consumption or exposure to high levels of selenium can have a detrimental effect on the digestive system and cause negative damage to the body , since only its dosage should be in minimal portions of the mineral, because it can be highly toxic.

It is considered that selenium, due to its toxicity, can be produced by frequently consuming water or foods that have high selenium values. Likewise, high levels of this component may be in the environment.

By studies carried out by people who live in spaces where the amount of selenium is high, its inhabitants have come to present an amount of selenium present in their body 4 times higher, according to the standard value and age.

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Symptoms caused by selenium toxicity

The toxicity product of the excess of this mineral is based mainly on affecting both the liver and the kidneys , since selenium goes more towards those organs and is where it is stored, being able to cause other fatal damages in the body.

The most common symptoms presented in patients as a result of the accumulation of selenium and at the same time lead to toxicity due to accumulation due to ingestion or prolonged exposure to this mineral element, there are a series of problems among the most common are:

  • Skin damage such as severe dermatitis.
  • Hair loss .
  • Nail diseases .
  • Digestive and general discomfort .
  • Nerve disturbance
  • Constant dizziness and vomiting.
  • Oral problems such as strong breath with a garlic-like odor and cavities.

What lowers the amounts of selenium in the body?

Among the factors that decrease the amounts of selenium in the body can vary, but if you eat a completely balanced diet, they could be the product of habits that affect health or other more severe problems of medical complications. Therefore, you must take into account these conditions that lead to lower levels of selenium in the body, which are:

  • Excess alcohol in the body.
  • Bad habit
  • Product of Crohn’s disease (a type of autoimmune disease that affects the intestine due to chronic inflammation).
  • Severe colitis disease .

Selenium and its contraindications for health

Selenium can be both beneficial for health and harmful due to the toxicity it has in the body at a high dose, also due to an excessive accumulation of this micro mineral in the organs where it tends to lodge and be released. That is why it is necessary to be careful with diets rich in selenium:

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The high consumption of selenium or its supplements are contraindicated, if you have planned surgery, for which precautions should be taken before surgery and afterwards since selenium acts in the blood as a diluent . Therefore, it could accelerate internal bleeding, likewise, it is a risk for people who have nasal problems such as natural bleeding.

Patients who present with the disease of hypothyroidism when taking selenium supplements should consult their doctor, as this can be detrimental to their condition because it accelerates the symptoms in this disease. Typically, for hypothyroidism, doctors put selenium treatments along with iodine.

In all cases, you have to consult with the treating doctor if you decide to take selenium supplements on your own, since this can affect other types of diseases or conditions because it varies according to each person.

Does the use of selenium affect with other medical treatments?

It is important to take into account the use of selenium with other medicines, since it could decrease or accelerate its effect in the body, causing more damage and interfering with treatment, so it is essential to be careful when you should not consume supplements of selenium or when a diet rich in this trace mineral should not be done. That is why there are different conditions:

  • Selenium along with other anticoagulant medications should not be ingested, as they accelerate the fluidity of the blood and this is the cause of severe bleeding.
  • Another consideration to take into account is that zinc alone reduces the body’s ability to absorb concentrations of selenium.
  • People who take psychotropics cannot ingest selenium, as this would greatly increase its sedative effects.
  • Likewise, selenium is contraindicated in people undergoing medical treatment to reduce cholesterol, because it affects the mechanism of action of this drug.

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Medicinal plants that are high in selenium

In these cases, a lot of attention should be paid, since medicinal plants are considered to have a high value of selenium , especially if the soils where they grow are rich in selenium, which is why it should not be linked with selenium supplements . Also when following a strict diet to increase the levels of this trace element as it can be harmful to the body.

As for medicinal plants or medicinal herbs we have those with a high concentration of selenium: nettle, thyme, mint, pennyroyal, valerian, milk thistle, stevia, aloe vera (aloe), ginseng, marshmallow, among other plants.

Selenium and its rejuvenating power

This micromineral, due to its high antioxidant properties, is widely used in cosmetology and beauty treatments, due to its effect of delaying cell death as a result of free radicals, which are the main ones to accelerate the process of cellular oxidation.

Therefore, the action of selenium is based on preventing that damage that is reflected in the skin with the wrinkles and blemishes that this causes. With a progressive effect on the external physical state of the person as well as on the state of their health condition.

In such a way that selenium intervenes in minimizing the negative effects of aging caused by free radicals , thus allowing an anti-aging result, due to the fact that it improves the condition of the skin, stimulates the growth of nails and hair.

Likewise, it favors the normalization of the functioning of the thyroid allowing the organs to carry out a correct process in terms of metabolizing all the fats present in the body and taking advantage of all the nutrients that the body needs.

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It is important to note that the so-called premature aging can occur due to the absence of selenium and other minerals rich in antioxidants. But at the same time, due to its rejuvenating action, this micromineral should not be abused due to its cumulative and toxic effect that it can cause in the body.

The importance of selenium in pregnancy and lactation

Selenium, being a trace element, is essential for the life and development of the body, therefore, it plays an important role in pregnancy and during breastfeeding, since selenium nutrients must be present throughout growth, from the fetus until the first years of life.

From the gestation process, the fetus begins a reception of selenium in the part of the liver which is preserved until the last day of pregnancy given by birth. From then on, the baby begins to use all the selenium preserved throughout its gestation.

Therefore, it is considered that in the period of the first 4 months after birth, the newborn’s body is releasing accumulated selenium for the different functions of the organs . This reserve of selenium is rapidly decreasing. In such a way that the concentration of this micro-mineral falls in the baby’s blood.

Selenium deficiency is not reflected at once in the health of the baby , but can later lead to other types of diseases, therefore, it is essential to care for the woman in the stage of pregnancy, because many times it determines the health of the baby . fetus and it is possible to prevent a number of diseases that can affect the baby in its first years of life.

Likewise, the amount of selenium concentration in breast milk depends in this case on the mother’s diet. In this way, to replace the loss of selenium that originates in the first months of the baby’s life.

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Breastfeeding in the condition of a healthy and nourished pregnancy is one of the richest in terms of selenium content , and occurs in the first days after the baby is born. Subsequently, the selenium nutrients are reduced after the months pass but even without losing its portion of selenium, it is said that it can contain about 16 mcg of selenium per liter.

Diabetes and its opposite effect due to selenium

This subject of diabetes and selenium is a subject in contention today, as there are more and more cases that demonstrate the unfavorable results that diabetes has with respect to the use of selenium supplements, because at first it was believed that benefited this disease, but this hypothesis is being discarded.

In such a way that there is incidence that people without selenium deficiencies and their dose is increased with selenium supplements, it can cause adverse effects such as promoting type 2 diabetes or other complications such as increased cholesterol in the blood . For this reason, consult your doctor before starting a diet rich in selenium or using supplements on your own.

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Kathie Sand always saw the world of beauty as the terrain on which to build her professional career, a goal that was clear to her when she was only 15 years old. Her great concern to expand knowledge led her to settle in Paris where she studied hand in hand with the best beauty professionals and with the most advanced techniques for skin care.

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