Selenium is a mineral nutrient. Although only found in the body in trace amounts, it’s still essential, particularly since it acts as an antioxidant, working together with vitamins A, C, and E. Since our bodies can’t produce it, we have to get our daily recommended amount from our diet.
Selenium assists a variety of very important antioxidants that protect our cells from free radicals, especially when our bodies are exposed to excessive amounts of tobacco, alcohol, medication, sunlight, atmospheric pollution and stress.
It also affects our hormonal metabolism by supporting our thyroid gland, especially in the activation of thyroid hormones (T3). Selenium also helps synthesise proteins and works on inflammation processes, thus contributing to immune system function.
DID YOU KNOW?
Thanks to its resemblance to tellurium (a reference to the Earth), selenium was named in homage to Selene, the Greek goddess of the moon.
Selenium is found in meat, offal, seafood, whole grains, oilseeds, and some fruits and vegetables (oranges, pears, tomatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, and more). It’s important to remember that vegetables are only good sources of selenium if they come from areas with rich soil, which isn’t always the case... The same is true of animal sources, whose selenium content is directly linked to the animals’ diet.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION : DEFICIENCIES AND EXCESSES
Excesses of selenium are very rare, since it can only act as a pro-oxidant in cases of extreme overdose. Deficiencies are observed in certain sectors of the population, including the elderly, vegetarians, smokers, athletes, and anyone suffering from intestinal absorption issues or living in regions with soil that has low selenium content, etc.