What is selenium and what is it used for?

-Jan 13, Sara Palmer Hussey, PhD, Nutrition -

Selenium: The antioxidant that boosts glutathione

Selenium has a vital role in boosting antioxidant activity in the body and providing protection against free radical damage. We’ve included it as one of the hard-working team of nutrients in Lumity’s Morning and Night supplements, here’s a closer look at why.

Selenium is a constituent of more than twenty selenoproteins that play critical roles in reproduction, thyroid hormone metabolism, DNA synthesis and protection from infection. It also contributes to the maintenance of healthy skin, hair and nails.

What is selenium and what is it used for?

“Selenium is an essential trace mineral necessary to maintain a healthy thyroid, pancreatic and antibody health,” Candice Van Eeden, a professional Registered Nutritional Therapist, explains. 

“Selenium deficiency can exacerbate autoimmune thyroid conditions. It helps maintain normal cell proliferation and apoptosis protecting your cells from free radical damage.”

Selenium functions as a component of glutathione, which accounts for its antioxidant function and its important contribution to the prevention of ageing and disease. Selenium and vitamin E work together synergistically in that they carry out antioxidant and immunostimulatory functions better together than individually. 

They both protect cell membranes and intracellular structural membranes from lipid oxidation. Solidification of tissue membranes occurs through the oxidation of fatty acids; selenium prevents or slows the biochemical ageing process of tissue degeneration and hardening – that is, loss of youthful elasticity. This protective function is enhanced by vitamin E.

Which foods contain selenium? 

If you’d like to add more selenium to your diet, there’s a variety of foods which are rich in this vital trace element. 

“Just six or eight Brazil nuts gives you your recommended daily amount of selenium,” Naomi Buff, a holistic nutritional wellness coach says.

“It’s also in yellowfin tuna, halibut and sardines. Selenium is also to be found in grass fed beef, turkey, eggs and spinach.”

She adds: “Snacking on Brazil nuts is a fantastic way to boost your selenium levels.”

What are the benefits of selenium? 

Selenium also helps stimulate antibody formation in response to vaccines. This immunostimulatory effect is also enhanced by vitamin E; research has shown that the presence of these two nutrients can increase antibody formation 20-30 fold.

Selenium protects from the toxic effects of heavy metals and other dangerous substances. People with adequate selenium intake have fewer adverse effects from cigarette smoking, alcohol, oxidised fats, and mercury and cadmium toxicity.

Through its glutathione-boosting properties, selenium aids red blood cell metabolism and has been shown to prevent chromosome damage in tissue cultures.

Selenium plays a role in protein synthesis, growth, development and fertility, especially male fertility. It has been shown to improve sperm production and motility.

Selenium absorption is thought to decrease with ageing and so higher quantities may be required as we grow older in order to reap all the protective, anti-ageing benefits of this mineral.

FAQ: What is the recommended daily dosage of selenium? 

Lumity contains 24.75 mcg which is 45% of the recommended daily amount. 



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