What is Selenium?

Selenium is a trace element that is found in many foods. It exists in two forms - organic (selenomethionine) and inorganic (selenate). Plants take the inorganic forms from the soil and convert it to the organic form. Selenomethionine is used in humans to create methionine which is a common amino acid used to make proteins. The body absorbs organic selenium better than inorganic selenium.

Where can I find Selenium in my diet?

The major sources of selenium in the food are breads, grains, poultry, fish and eggs. However, Sunflower, sesame and flax seeds and brown rice have a high selenium content.

Why is Selenium important?

Selenium plays a critical role in reproduction, thyroid hormone metabolism, DNA synthesis and acts as an antioxidant. Selenium deficiency is associated with male infertility, certain type of osteoarthritis, and can exacerbate iodine deficiency. Selenium is required for the proper function of GPO (glutathione peroxidases). These enzymes play a key role in detoxification of the body, provide protection against oxidative stress, and recycling Vitamin C. Selenium also responsible in transforming the less active thyroid hormone into T4 into the more active T3. T3 increases metabolic rates in the body. Thus, low T3 is linked with high cholesterol levels, high blood glucose levels, low serotonin in the brain, and weight gain.

How does Selenium act in the body?

Selenium deficiency on its own is not very harmful. Although, when selenium and iodine are both deficient, thyroid disorder emerge and cause problems. Similarly, when Vitamin C and E are deficient along with Selenium, the antioxidant process is disturbed and thus that system does not work well.