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Learn About Selenium in 5 Minutes – The Health Dossier with WeAreFeel

Email sent: Feb 13, 2020 6:40 pm

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Lesson 12b: Selenium

What is selenium?

Selenium is a an amazing and essential mineral. It's a powerful antioxidant used by the body to maintain thyroid balance, protect DNA, and fight against infections.


Is selenium water-soluble or fat-soluble?

Selenium is water-soluble , therefore it's processed quickly and most of it is excreted within 24 hours.


Where can selenium be found naturally? 

Seafood is the best source of natural selenium, but it's also present in brazil nuts, some dairy products and veg.  Many grains and cereals are fortified with this mineral.


5 foods/drinks containing selenium

1. Brazil nuts 777% DV per 28g or approx. 7 nuts

2. Eggs 36% DV per egg

3. Brown rice 27% DV per cup

4. Sunflower seeds 35% DV per 1/4 cup

5. Baked beans 23% DV per  cup


What is the recommended daily intake for selenium?

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) suggests that adult men and women should consume 55mcg of selenium every day. Pregnant women should consume 60mcg, and lactating women should consume 70mcg.


What to consume to get a full daily dose of selenium?

Brazil nuts - approximately 4g or 1 nut

Eggs - approximately 3 eggs

Brown rice - approximately 635g

Sunflower seeds - approximately 160g

Baked beans - approximately 930g


Can you absorb enough of selenium from food?

If you enjoy a seafood-rich diet or like to snack on brazil nuts, it’s relatively easy to get enough selenium from the food you eat. For vegans or people with nut allergies, however, sourcing selenium can be hard, and it’s always tricky getting the nutrients you need when you hardly have time in your day to sit down and eat.


Why is selenium necessary for your body?

Dietary selenium is necessary for the formation of selenoproteins, which are antioxidant proteins that the body uses for a variety of purposes. For instance, these proteins may be able to fight cancer, protect your cardiovascular health, and even prevent neurological conditions.


Functions of selenium

Anti-cancer functions: Studies have noted that people who consume more selenium are less at risk of developing cancer. This mineral’s immune-boosting and DNA-repairing functions are thought to be at work in providing this benefit.

Cardiovascular functions: Selenium prevents fats in your body from oxidising, which helps reduce cardiovascular inflammation and prevent heart conditions.

Neuroprotective functions: Some studies indicate that people with lower selenium levels are more at risk of developing neurodegenerative conditions like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Thyroid functions: Selenium is almost as important for proper thyroid functioning as iodine.


Symptoms of selenium deficiency

Thyroid Issues

Selenium deficiency can cause reduced levels of thyroid hormone, which can result in hypothyroidism. Symptoms of this thyroid condition include weight gain, low energy levels, feeling cold, and mental fog.

Fertility Issues

Both men and women can suffer from fertility issues when they’re deficient in selenium. In women, selenium deficiency can cause miscarriages, and in men, deficiency in this mineral can cause lower sperm counts.

Immune Issues

Since selenium is involved in many critical immune functions, becoming deficient in this mineral could compromise your immune system.


How long do you need to take selenium to start experiencing its benefits if you’re deficient?

From the moment you start taking selenium supplements, your body will begin the process of repairing the damage that deficiency in this mineral has caused. The road to recovery, however, may be long. Prolonged selenium deficiency can cause serious, long-lasting medical conditions, and these conditions may require additional treatments in tandem with selenium supplementation.


How long does it take for your body to digest/absorb selenium?

Some sources indicate that your body can absorb up to 89% of the selenium you consume. Most of this absorption occurs within the first 24 hours after ingestion.


How long does selenium stay in your body after you take it?

Selenium only builds up to a significant degree in the thyroid gland. Most remaining selenium in your body is usually excreted within 24 hours.


Is selenium an antioxidant?

Yes, selenium is necessary for the synthesis of selenoproteins, which are critical components of your immune system that have potent antioxidant properties. As a result, selenium intake increases your body’s ability to fight free radicals and prevent oxidative stress.


Can you overdose on selenium? What are the effects?

Small amounts of selenium are necessary for your health, but too much of this mineral can be deadly. Early warning signs of selenium overdose include a garlic odor in your breath and a metallic taste in your mouth. Other symptoms include brittle nails, hair loss, skin lesions, and neurological dysfunctions.

It’s important to note that regular consumption of brazil nuts can lead to a dangerous buildup of selenium in your body. Plus, mislabeled dietary supplements can leave you at risk of selenium overdose. It’s best to avoid exceeding your daily selenium intake by taking your exact RDA of this mineral with Feel.


Does selenium dissolve, flush out, or build up in the body?

Most of the selenium you consume flushes out of your body, but this substance builds up in your thyroid gland and in some of your other organs to a lesser degree.


Can you take selenium during a diet?

Consuming selenium won’t interfere with your diet.


Are there synthetic forms of selenium?

Like most essential minerals, it’s practically impossible to synthesise selenium.


Why might synthetic forms of selenium be better?

In a hypothetical situation, synthesising artificial selenium might be necessary if this mineral wasn’t available from natural sources.


Absorption rate of selenium

Theoretically, synthetic selenium would have the same absorption rate as natural selenium.


Why might natural forms of selenium be better?

Natural sodium selenite is currently the only available form of this nutrient.


How to take selenium?

You can consume selenium in the food you eat, but the absorption rate of food-sourced selenium is significantly lower than the rate at which your body absorbs selenium.


Why everyone should be taking WeAreFeel supplements

Most essential vitamins don’t cause serious side effects if you consume them in excessive quantities, but minerals are another matter. Like all essential minerals, selenium supplementation walks a fine line between being beneficial and downright dangerous; many supplements contain way too much selenium, which could be harmful or even deadly.

Here at WeAreFeel, we understand how important minerals are to your well-being, but we respect the potential of these nutrients to cause harm. That’s why we only include your exact RDA of selenium in Feel; skip the worry and get the selenium you need to stay healthy with a daily capsule of Feel!


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