Why Your Blood Needs Selenium
Table of Contents
A selenium deficiency in your blood can lead to health problems such as nerve damage and mental retardation.
Your blood needs selenium to function properly. Selenium helps to protect your body from free radicals and oxidative stress, which can cause it to age and weaken before it’s time.
Selenium also supports the immune system, making it harder for viruses to spread, and easier for antibodies to be created.
Some foods contain selenium in small amounts, including seafood, meat, eggs, dairy and grain products. Selenium can be found in dietary supplements as well.
The article goes on to discuss the importance of selenium, why your blood needs this mineral nutrient and what happens if you don’t get enough in your diet.
What is selenium and what does it do in your blood?
Selenium is a trace mineral the body needs to stay healthy. Selenium is important for reproduction, thyroid gland function, DNA production, protecting the body against infections and damage caused by free radicals.
A sufficient intake of selenium into your blood plays an important biological role in maintaining human health by:
- Regulating selenium transport
- Redox homeostasis
- DNA production
- Thyroid hormone metabolism
Selenium goes through series of mechanisms in the blood to combine with proteins, forming selenoproteins.
This type of protein carries out DNA synthesis and protects the cells against damage in the body.
Why Your Blood Needs Selenium (Know The Reasons)
Scientists are studying selenium to understand how it affects our
health. Here are the reasons why your blood needs selenium.
Studies suggest that people who consume lower amounts of selenium could have an increased risk of developing cancers of the colon and rectum, prostate, lung, bladder, skin, esophagus, and stomach.
But whether selenium reduces cancer risk is not clear.
More research is still needed to understand the effects of selenium from food and dietary supplements on cancer risk.
Scientists are studying whether selenium helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Some studies show that people with lower blood levels of selenium have a higher risk of heart disease, but other studies do not.
More studies are needed to better understand how selenium in food and dietary supplements affects heart health.
Blood selenium levels decrease as people age, and scientists are
studying whether low selenium levels contribute to a decline in
brain function in the elderly.
Some studies suggest that people
with lower blood selenium levels are more likely to have poorer mental function.
But a study of elderly people found no link between selenium levels and memory.
More research is needed to find out whether selenium dietary supplements might help reduce the risk of cognitive decline in old age people.
The thyroid gland has significant amounts of selenium that play an important role in thyroid function.
Studies suggest that women who have low blood levels of selenium and iodine might develop problems with their thyroid.
But whether selenium dietary supplements can help treat or reduce the risk of thyroid disease is not clear.
More research is needed to understand the effects of selenium on thyroid disease.
What foods provide selenium?
Selenium is found naturally in many foods. The amount of selenium in plant foods depends on the amount of selenium in the soil where they were grown.
The amount of selenium in animal products depends on the selenium content of foods the animals eat.
You can get recommended amounts of selenium by eating a variety of foods, including:
- Brazil nuts
What about selenium supplements?
Selenium is available in many multivitamin-mineral supplements and other dietary supplements.
It can be present in different forms, including selenomethionine and sodium selenate.
But if you’re looking for selenium supplements to buy we’ve selected the best ones for you:
- ACES + Zn antioxidants – Vitamins A, C, E Plus Selenium & Zinc (360 Softgels)
- ACES + Zn antioxidants – Vitamins A, C, E Plus Selenium & Zinc (120 Softgels)
- Selenium – Antioxidant Support & Thyroid Health – 200 MCG (300 Tablets)
- Selenium – Yeast Free – 200 MCG (250 Tablets)
- Bio E With Selenium – Provides Antioxidant Activity – 400 IU (120 Perle Capsules)
Are there any interactions with selenium that you should know?
Yes, some of the medications you take may interact with selenium.
For example, cisplatin, used to treat cancer can lower selenium levels, but the effect this has on the body is not clear. The following medications may interfere with selenium:
- Corticosteroids such as prednisone
- Valproic acid
- Anticoagulants and antiplatelet drugs like warfarin, clopidogrel, heparin, and aspirin.
If you are taking any of these drugs, talk to your doctor first before you start with selenium supplements.
In addition to medications, there are a few other things that can interfere with selenium absorption, such as:
- High doses of vitamin C
- High doses of iron or zinc
- Kidney disease or HIV/AIDS
Talk to your doctor, pharmacist, and other health care providers about any other medications that you take.
They can tell you if the drug might interact with selenium or interfere with how your body absorbs, uses, or breaks down selenium.
How much selenium do you need?
The amount of selenium you need each day depends on your age, and the average daily recommended amounts below are in micrograms:
- Birth to 6months: 15 mcg
- Infants 7–12 months: 20 mcg
- Children 1–3 years: 20 mcg
- Children 4–8 years: 30 mcg
- Children 9–13 years: 40 mcg
- Teens 14–18 years: 55 mcg
- Men 19–50 years: 55 mcg
- Women 51–70 years: 45 mcg
- Pregnant women: 60 mcg
- Breastfeeding women: 70 mcg
What happens if you have low levels of selenium in your blood?
Selenium deficiency is rare. The dysregulation of selenoproteins and selenium deficiency in your blood can result in several disorders such as:
- Keshan disease
- Liver disease
- Male infertility
- A defective immunity against viral infections
Certain groups of people are more likely than others to have trouble getting enough selenium:
- People undergoing kidney dialysis
- People living with HIV
- People who eat only local foods grown in soils that are low in
Is selenium harmful to the blood?
Yes, if you get too much. Brazil nuts, for example, contains high amounts of selenium and can cause you to go over the upper limit if you eat too much.
Having too much selenium in your body over a long period of time can cause the following:
- Garlic breath
- Skin rashes
- Metallic taste in the mouth
- Brittle hair
- Loss of hair
- Discolored teeth
- Nervous system problems
Extreme high intakes of selenium can cause severe problems such as, difficulty breathing, tremors, and heart attacks.
Below is the daily upper limits for selenium from foods and dietary supplements:
- Birth to 6 months: 45 mcg
- Infants 7–12 months: 60 mcg
- Children 1–3 years: 90 mcg
- Children 4–8 years: 150 mcg
- Children 9–13 years: 280 mcg
- Teens 14–18 years: 400 mcg
- Adults: 400 mcg
The selenium content in your blood is vital for DNA production, certain metabolic processes and protecting red blood cells from oxidative damage.
Dietary intakes of selenium plays a vital role on our health by preventing cardiovascular diseases, cancer, thyroid disease and cognitive decline.
Although studies have not clearly shown that low intakes of selenium increases your risks of developing certain diseases further research is still on going to study the effects and impacts of selenium on humans.
Sources of selenium can be found in meat, dairy products, sea food, cereals and grain products.
Adequate intakes of these foods should not exceed the upper limits and must follow the recommended daily allowance.
Always talk to your doctor before you take selenium supplements.
Some medications interferes with selenium when combined in dosage.