Properties of selenium


What is selenium used for?

Selenium to prevent infections, aging and cancer.

A very antioxidant mineral: Selenium has stimulatory functions to enzymes with a large cellular antioxidant and protective effect against external pathogens. The antioxidant action of selenium is carried out in combination with vitamin E. Thus, selenium protects us against free radicals, retarding aging, and preventing the appearance of many degenerative diseases.

Detoxifying: Selenium is able to neutralize the toxic effect of many heavy elements such as lead, cadmium, mercury, etc.. Some of these toxins can be absorbed through food, contaminated water or the air we breathe. Many of these toxins, together with other factors, may be responsible for the appearance of numerous cancers.

Anticancer: Selenium is a good protection against the development of cancer cells. Although there is no known mechanism by which this mineral acts, there have been numerous studies that have shown the link between a diet low in selenium and increased lung, stomach, liver and colon cancers.

Although it has not been proven effective to combat already developed cancers, selenium is often used in the treatment of lung, skin, prostate and stomach cancers. Likewise, it is used to reduce the side effects of chemotherapy.

Increases immunity: We must also take into account that selenium helps the immune system, increasing the defenses and protecting the body against infectious diseases. It has been proven that people who have low levels of selenium are more likely to get sick.

Therefore, a diet rich in foods that contain lots of selenium is adequate for healing of wounds, cuts, burns, and to increase defenses in general. Also this diet will protect us from diseases like flu, cold, etc..

Aging: The ability of selenium to enable people to maintain a more youthful appearance is attributed to the power of this mineral to repair damaged tissue and its ability to keep the skin smooth.

Thus, it does not only manages to keep the muscles and tendons in better shape, for the body to retain agility for longer, but it also delays the havoc aging causes on the skin, manifested in the form of wrinkles, blemishes, crow’s feet, sagging and other imperfections that make us look older.

The rejuvenating effects of selenium have been used in the treatment of other conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome, depression or lack of courage.

Food containing much selenium

Photo of foods high in selenium: nuts, legumes and whole grains.


Selenium for hypothyroidism

Selenium is used with very great efficacy for the treatment of hypothyroidism caused by Hashimoto ‘s thyroiditis or chronic thyroiditis. This type of thyroiditis is an immune system disease in which the body attacks the thyroid causing inflammation and lack of efficiency in the production of thyroid hormone.

Normally we use a selenium dose of 200 mcg daily with thyroid hormones to supplement the lack of natural hormone. Selenium helps reduce the body’s negative reaction to the thyroid and reduces some symptoms of this disease such as hair loss, malaise, feeling cold or stiffness.

Selenium for cardiovascular diseases

The antioxidant properties of selenium do not only focus on protection against cancer. Selenium is capable of preventing the oxidation of cholesterol and subsequent sedimentation on the walls of arteries in the form of plaques which are the cause of atherosclerosis.

Furthermore, because the anti-inflammatory effects, selenium stops inflammation that could occur in the walls of the arteries due to atherosclerosis. Thus succeeds in improving the elasticity of blood vessels and, consequently, improves blood circulation.

The process of improving blood circulation prevents against the emergence of many cardiovascular diseases, including hypertension, myocardial infarction, angina or stroke.

Selenium for inflammatory diseases

Selenium anti-inflammatory properties are due to the role that this component plays in the production of the enzyme glutathione peroxidase. This enzyme gets inhibit prostaglandin production. Prostaglandins have an inflammatory effect.

Supplementation of vitamin E and selenium can be very good for the treatment of inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, two diseases in which the affected patients generally exhibit low levels of selenium.

Selenium for your sight health

Selenium antioxidant components, and especially the superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase, exert a protective value of sight.

This mineral is capable of protecting the eye against destructive oxidation factor preventing the appearance of eye problems such as cataracts, loss of vision or night blindness.

Selenium for your hair

Selenium has been used as a common component of dandruff shampoos. Selenium is capable of preventing the appearance of dandruff or remove dandruff when it is present in our hair.

In most preparations selenium is mixed with sulfur. By mixing them, selenium sulfide occurs acting on the scalp. This action neutralizes the formation of dandruff and reduces hair itching.

The revitalizing properties of selenium are sometimes used to treat gray hair.

Selenium deficiency

Symptoms of selenium deficiency

The main symptoms that indicate a lack of selenium are:

– Cardiovascular problems

– Premature aging

– Stagnation articulatory

– Inflammation of the joints

– Muscle problems

– Cancer

– Increased susceptibility to food poisoning

– Increased susceptibility to chemical poisoning

– Increased susceptibility to infections

– Dandruff in the hair

– Growth problems

Daily requirement of selenium

The following table shows the recommended daily dose of selenium. The RDA depends, as we can see, on age and sex. Pregnant or lactating women need an extra amount.

Recommended daily dose of selenium (RDA) in mcg (micrograms)
Recommended doseMaximum tolerable dose
Infants to 6 months2,145
Infants from 7 – 12 months2,260
Children 1-3 years2090
Children 4-8 years30150
Children 9-13 years40280
Adults older than 1355400
Pregnant women60
Breast-feeding women70

Is selenium safe?

An excess of selenium is toxic. Similarly, there are some selenium contraindications and side effects that should be considered.

punto rojo More information on selenium

Written by Editorial Botanical-online team in charge of content writing

27 June, 2019

Other interesting articles

This material is for informational purposes only. In case of doubt, consult the doctor.
"Botanical-online" is not responsible for damages caused by self-medication.