Selenium (its chemical sign is Se), is categorized as a micronutrient mineral. What is a micronutrient itself? It is one of nutrient substances that is needed by our body in a small quantities. However, its marvelous impact for our health is unquestionable since it plays an important role for our metabolism. Below are Benefits of Selenium for Our Health
- Antioxidant. Selenium, collaborate with vitamin E, work as antioxidant for our body to counter free radical that triggers the existence of various type of cancers, heart disease and arthritis.
- Healthy Sperm. Selenium is good for keeping as well as controlling sperm production. It is also useful for increasing our sexual arousal. Selenium is a nutritional substance that influences our sperm quality. Almost a half of selenium in male’s body is kept in testicular and seminal tract. If the selenium intake is not sufficient, the sperm that is produced tend to have less mobility since its tail was not formed well. Those less active sperms make males experience sperm disruption in Teratozoospermia and Asthenozoospermia. Therefore, it is important for male to maintain their nutritious intake.
- Controlling Lupus (SLE) symptoms. Lupus is an illness that gives serious impact for our immune system. Consuming 50 micrograms of selenium in a daily basis will help us in decreasing the pain. However, consulting to the naturopath or doctor prior to consuming selenium supplement is strongly suggested.
- Preventing Many types of Cancer. Selenium has its natural anti carcinogenic and it is able to diminish carcinogenic cells. Therefore, selenium performs perfectly to prevent the cancer cells development in our body. Selenium is important for the activity of glutathione peroxidase. Glutathione peroxidase is an enzyme that protects our cells membrane from damage.
- Proven Very Effective in preventing Skin Cancer. Selenium is believed to have important roles in preventing skin cancer. The mineral that usually in the form of cream or supplement can protect or skin from damage because of sunlight exposure. One of the research in France said that consuming selenium and copper can prevent our skin from burning effect because of the sun. Meanwhile, another research result that is published in The Journal of the American Medical Association 1996 says that patients who consume 200 microgram of selenium per day have death risk because of skin cancer 50% lower.
- Preventing Our Cardiovascular System. Cardiovascular system covers the whole process that involves our heart. One of the most vital parts in our body is heart. We will prevented from various heart problem as long as our cardiovascular system is well preserved. Selenium is considered important in embattled cardiovascular disease because of its antioxidant effect. Even though its ability in curing cardiovascular disease has not been concluded, it is still important to clarify the importance of selenium for our health, especially in a very serious cardiovascular disease in which the patient exposures to the increasing of oxidative stress.
- Preventing Us from Catarac. Catarac is a degenrative disease that is often experienced by the people over 60 years old. Cataract can cause vision disruption which eventually will lead us to blindness. Selenium helps us by preventing us from cataract.
- Preventing Us from Virus. Selenium works effectively to prevent virus. Therefore, selenium can protect us from several illnesses that caused by certain virus, such as influenza and cough.
- Prevent Our Hair Loss. A massive hair loss is one of the symptoms that we need more intake of selenium. Selenium is trace mineral that plays its important role for our healthy hair. Since our hair contains protein, we should consume rich-protein-food. Selenium digest the protein intake to our body. Besides, it also helps the synthesize process of enzyme to increase its antioxidant reaction so that our hair can stay healthy and avoid us from free radicals that trigger our hair loss.
- Lessening Dandruff. The existence of dandruff in our hair is one of the symptoms that you need more selenium intake. Selenium eradicates Malassezia, a fungi in our hair. The growth of Malassezia makes our hair dry. Therefore, selenium is included in many of shampoo products. The direct application of selenium to our hair and selenium intake to our body will optimally eradicate selenium growth.
- Prevents Us from Aging. Selenium and vitamin E protect our body tissue from pollution and sunlight as well as maintain our skin elasticity. If the level of selenium decreases, our body cells (especially in our skin part) is damaged. That condition triggers the emerging of aging signs. Selenium has its important role to prevent us from aging and to omit the aging signs in our face, such as:
- inelastic skin
- wrinkle skin
- dull skin
- rough and dry skin
- Maintaining Our Immunity. Once our immunity levels down, million of microbe will inevitably enter our body and attack our immune system. One of our virus protection in our body is selenium. Selenium is one of the antioxidant that is very potential to prevent us from free radical. Selenium is important for our body in producing its strong enzyme that is called glutathione peroxidase that is useful for detoxification. The lack of selenium makes our immune system decreases, lessening the activity of T-cell activity and antibody production.
- Maintaining Our Brain Health. Selenium is good for our brain. Consuming proportional portion of selenium a day will maintain our brain health so that it will perform more optimally.
- Controlling Reproduction Process. Selenium is good at keeping and controlling our healthy reproduction process. It is especially beneficial for female who does not have a regular menstrual cycle. Selenium can control the disruption in reproduction system.
- Anti Inflammation. Selenium is beneficial for preventing inflammation in our body.
- Good for Our Mood. One of our psychological condition that is controlled by our brain is our mood. Meanwhile, the important mineral that manages our brain work is selenium. Moreover, based on the result of the research, people who consume selenium are proven to have a good mood than people who are lack of selenium intake because they tend to have such a bad mood.
- Hypothiroidisme.. Lack of selenium intake causes hypothiroidisme. It is a serious health issue in which our glands do not quickly produce hormones that eventually makes us tired and depressed.
- Hard to Concentrate. Selenium is proven for lessening our irritability and mental fatigue. If we do not have enough selenium intake, it will be hard for us to concentrate.
- Hampering the Development of AIDS. Selenium can slacken the development of viral load in HIV patients as well as increase the number of CD-4. People who suffered from AIDS have low immunity. Therefore, they are given selenium supplement for increasing and maintaining their immune system.
- Keshan Disease. Lack of selenium intake causes Keshan Disease. People who suffered from that disease experience the disruption in their heart muscles which eventually leads to heart inflammation. As a result, our heart cannot perfectly function. Disruption in our heart muscles is fatal and can lead us to death. Keshan disease is mostly found in Keshan, China because land in Keshan contains low selenium. As a result, the contain of selenium in water, plant, and cattle that are consumed are also low. This condition automatically makes their blood concentration is low of selenium.
- Kashin Beck. Kashin beck is osteoarthritis that is usually experienced by teenagers. It is caused by the deterioration of our joints functions. The symptoms are painful,rigid, and cramps joints. This disease is closely related to the low contain of selenium in China, North Korea, and East Siberia.
- Increasing DNA efficiency. Selenium has its ability to increase DNA so that DNA can improve itself. Meanwhile, high level of selenium can poison the cancer cells so that they won’t develop.
- Hampering the Development of Tumor. Selenium is beneficial to hamper the growth of tumor in human’s breast tissue.
- Weakening the Radiation. Selenium has its power to weaken the toxic radiation in our body.
- Cleaning Our Blood. Selenium can clean our blood from chemotherapy effect and kidney malfunction.
- Potential Stimulant. Selenium is potential stimulant for our immunity system.
- Preventing Us from Tuberculosis. Several research suggest that taking selenium supplement and other nutritions can prevent us from Tuberkulosis.
- Diabetes. A controlled study shows that selenium intake is positively related to the risk of suffering diabetes type 2.
Food that contain high selenium that can help in fulfilling daily selenium intake
It is important to remember that the selenium level in food is varied. It depends on the land condition because the lands condition does not only influence vegetative food but also animal food since the food of animal is based on their food. One of the best ways to meet the selenium requirements is by choosing rich-of-selenium food:
- Egg. Egg has been famously known as a nutritious food that is high in protein. Besides, it also contains selenium. In one egg contains of 13,9 mcg of selenium. It is the same as 20% of our daily need of selenium.
- Cheese. Consuming cheese is another way of having selenium intake. In 100 gm of cheese contains of 15 mcg selenium or 20% of DV (daily value).
- Mushroom. There is 11,9 mcg or 17% DV of selenium in 100 gram of mushrooms. The low level of selenium is related to the increasing of high risk of flu. Mushrooms contain antivirus, antibacterial, and the effect of anti-tumor.
- Wheat. Wheat is known as healthy menu for breakfast. It is also the source of potassium. In 100 gm there is at least 34 mcg selenium.
- Beef. Beef is one of the best selenium source. It contains around 91,4 mcg in 100 gm.
- Chicken. A 100 gram of chicken contains 27,6 mcg of selenium or it is the same as 39% daily requirement of selenium per day.
- Tuna. In a 100 gr of fresh tuna contains 80,4 mcg or 115% DV of selenium. As a selenium source from animal, tuna is also low carbohydrate and calorie so that you do not have to worry with your weight.
- Salmon. Salmon is another kind of fish that is rich of selenium. In 100 gm of salmon contains 41,4 mcg or 59% DV of selenium. Salmon also contains of Omega-3 and 6 acid fat.
- Crabs. Crabs also high in selenium. They contain aroudn 44,4 mcg or 63% DV of selenium in every 100 gram. Crabs also contains omega-3 and a god source of protein.
- Soy. In every 100 gram of soy contains 7.3 mcg or 10% of per day daily requirement.
- Oyster. It is not only the biggest source of aphrodisiac that can increase our sexual desire. It is also beneficial in increasing our immune system. Oyster is rich of iron. The low level of iron in our body (especially male’s body) is related to their infertility.
- Watermelon. Watermelon is not only rich of water but it also contains of the highest antioxidant substance: glutathione. It is well known to increase our immune system so that our body can counter the infection.
- Onion. Most of the people do not like its strong smell. However, it is very beneficial for our health. Onion can counter bacteria called Hpylori that causes ulcer and stomach cancer. Onion also rich of mineral and important vitamin, such as potassium, vitamin A, and C and selenium. Consuming onion 15-20 minute before meal time is proven effectively to activate anti-cancer chemical substance.
- Spinach. Folic is one of the chemical substances in spinach. It is used for maintaining new cells for synthesis DNA and RNA as well as for preventing the changes of DNA. We should consume spinach regularly. It is better for eating raw spinach or half cooked spinach for having the best benefit.
- Sweet Potato. Sweet potato contains beta carotene-antioxidant. Sweet potato is rich of vitamin A that is useful for slowing down the aging process and lessening the risk of cancer.
- Broccoli. Broccoli contains of high vitamin A and D. There is a substance in broccoli called diindolylmethane (DIM), that is able to cease the development of certain cancer.
- Brazil Nut. Brazil Nut contains of more than 500 microgram of selenium per 6-8 seed.
In order to have its absolute benefits, we should know the dosage of consuming selenium since erroneous dosage will give us fatal impact.
The suggested selenium recommended per day:
- Baby 0–6 month : 10 microgram / day
- Children 1-3 years old : 20 microgram / day
- Children 4-8 years old : 30 microgram / day
- Children 9-13 years old : 40 microgram / day
- Adult and children 14 : 55 microgram / day
- Pregnant women : 60 microgram / day
- Breastfeeding women : 70 microgram / day
Selenium is indeed beneficial for our health. However, even though it is a rare case, the excessive and deficiency of selenium can cause various health disruption.
Selenium has its toxic traits if it too much consumed. In domestic animal, the excessive intake of selenium can cause “alkali disease”, or bones and nails damage because of too much selenium absorption. Meanwhile, in human, the excessive intake of selenium can trigger the “selenosis” in which it breaks the digestion system and nerves. The excessive amount of selenium can give dangerous impact for our health. It is because we consume additional selenium (more than 1 milligram / day) without recommendation from doctor. High level of selenium in our blood (> 100 microgram) can bring us to the condition that is called selenosis.
- Hair loss
- Skin rash
- Nerve disruption
- Tooth decay
- The smell of onion in our breath
- Lungs problems
- Hard to breathe
- Gastrointestinal irritation
- Muscles Cramps
- Personality Disorder
- Skin Inflammation
- Nerves Disturbance
- Kidney Disruption
- Heart Disruption
- Birth Defects
The Medication for excessive selenium intake is by lessening the selenium intake itself. However, seeing the doctor is strongly suggested so that we know whether we suffered from selenosis or not. If we are suffered from selenosis, we should avoid supplement or multivitamin that contains selenium. During selenosis our body gets selenium intake more than its normal dosage, which is 400 mcg per day. The maximum intake of selenium for adults is limited until 800 mcg per day. It is not strongly suggested to take selenium above that number.
The deficiency of selenium rarely happened. This disease happens to 1% of people who live in China because the selenium level in land and plant is low. The deficiency of selenium intake will decrease the performance of vitamin E until 50%. This decreasing performance will trigger the existence of other disease, such as:
- myoglobinuria (blood-color urine) because mioglobin in muscles merges in blood.
- less oxygen supply in our heart and muscles.
- cardiomyopathy and muscles weakness.
- hair loss
- low immune system
- reproduction problems
The medication for selenium deficiency is by consuming additional selenium. The additional intake of selenium can prevent us from cardiomyopathy.
Despite the marvelous benefits that are offered by selenium, it presents dangerous impacts, too.
- Chronic Toxity: selenium toxicy can cause gastrointestinal symptom, neuromusculer-psychiatry disruption, dermathology changes, heart dysfunction, kidney dysfunction, and trombositopenia.
- Endocrine: the first effect of selenium toxicity are endocrine disruption, including thyroid hormone synthesis. the lack of selenium intake can make thyroid disruption worse.
- Genitourinary: high selenium level can decrease sperm mobility.
- Psychiatry: based on the research, the high level of selenium intake can cause behavioral problem, such as crotchety and fatigue.
Fulfilling the selenium intake properly is absolutely important since the excessive and the deficiency of selenium intake either it is from food or supplement is dangerous because it will bring us to meet a serious health problems.