What is Selenium?
An essential trace mineral, selenium is found occurring naturally in water, soil and some types of food. Selenium is a component of several amino acids and is used to synthesize many different antioxidant enzymes. These enzymes’ main role is to seek out and neutralize harmful free radicals that damage cells and accelerate aging.**
The antioxidant effects of selenium and the enzymes it helps create are well-documented. The most important enzyme that is created with its help is glutathione peroxidase, which binds to oxidizing free radicals in the bloodstream, rendering them inert before they can damage cells. This same antioxidant activity helps optimize cardiovascular health by protecting myocardial tissues. In fact, some research has suggested that selenium supplementation can lead to better recovery rates from cardiac surgery while promoting overall cardiovascular health.**
In addition to its ability to provide strong antioxidant activity, some research has shown that this essential trace mineral may play a role in creating, activating and optimizing the immune system’s lymphocytes and T-cells. Some evidence suggests that when the body is deficient in selenium, pathogens seem to mutate more easily, stressing the immune system and leaving the body susceptible.**
Early evidence suggests the mineral may be useful in increasing male fertility. One research study found that sperm motility increased after daily selenium nutritional supplementation. There may be a mood-supportive component to this trace mineral as well, according to new (and early) research. A number of small studies have found a correlation between mood problems and low selenium intake.**
As an essential trace mineral, selenium is a substance the body needs but cannot synthesize on its own. However, as it appears mostly within water and soil, the primary way to obtain this mineral is to eat plants that have grown in selenium-rich soil. Nutritional supplementation has become quite popular as a way to counteract the challenges of dietary selenium intake. In supplement form, it is most often prepared from a type of yeast, which helps to increase its bioavailability and absorption. Mineral supplements are usually available in tablet or capsule form.**
Selenium Directions for Use
Always consult with your primary care provider before embarking on any nutritional supplement regimen. As it is a trace mineral, daily selenium dosage should never exceed 400 micrograms (mcg). The typical daily dose is 100 mcg to 200 mcg.**