Selenium is a trace element with a powerful antioxidant effect.
In the body, it is bound to various proteins and stored mainly in the muscles.
What are the benefits of selenium?
- Selenium is part of several enzymes with antioxidant action: glutathione peroxidase and thioredoxin reductase.
These enzymes contribute to the neutralization of excess free radicals present in the body, which accelerate the aging of cells and promote the occurrence of various diseases, including cancer and cardiovascular diseases.
Thioredoxin reductase regenerates vitamins C and E , which also have an antioxidant effect.
- Selenium is a modulator of immune and antiviral protection, as well as of anti-inflammatory reactions;
- Participates in the detoxification of certain toxic compounds, heavy metals and xenobiotics;
- Participates in the metabolism of thyroid hormones.
Recommended intake of selenium
The recommended intake of selenium according to body weight is as follows:
- 1 µg per kilogram of body weight per day for children;
- 70 mcg per day for adults;
In people over the age of 75, the recommended intake is 80 µg per day, due to the increase in oxidative stress with advancing age and the need to support immune system functions.
For people who have high levels of physical activity, an additional intake of 10 to 30 µg of selenium per day is recommended, proportional to energy expenditure and oxidative stress caused by physical activity.
Selenium deficiency can be due to insufficient food intake, especially when following a vegan diet, or impaired absorption due to various intestinal diseases - celiac disease, Crohn's disease and others.
Insufficient levels of selenium can lead to arrhythmia, reduced resistance to infections , muscle weakness, anemia, osteoarthritis manifestations.
When selenium deficiency is combined with iodine deficiency, hypothyroidism can develop - deficiency of thyroid hormones.
Intake of high amounts of selenium
Chronic excess of selenium leads to:
- Skin lesions;
- Loss of hair and nails;
- Digestive disorders;
- Characteristic breath with the smell of garlic;
- Metallic taste in the mouth;
Selenium excess can be due to intake of high amounts of supplements or intake of drinking water rich in this trace element .