Selenium – The Source of health

If someone would have mentioned Selenium to me before, I don’t think I would have had that much turned my head about it. But starting to formulate my food plan where I started to look into my Micros, it all changed my perspective. During this week’s food plan, I realised that my intake of selenium was up 4 times higher than the daily Value suggests. So I went to research what it is and if should I be worried.. Did you know about Selenium?? Either way, I will educate you a tiny bit more.. or maybe just give you a reminder of the magic mineral from our dining table.

Selenite is a trace element naturally present in many foods. Selenium is nutritionally essential for humans, it is a constituent of more than dozens of selenoproteins that play critical roles in reproduction, thyroid hormone metabolism, DNA synthesis and protection from oxidative damage and infection.

Chicken Liver Pate with red onion relish

Selenium exists in two forms: inorganic (in soils) and organic (animals and humans). Soils contain inorganic selenites and selenates that plant accumulates and convert to organic forms of selenocysteine, selenomethionine and their methylated derivatives.

Most Selenium in animals and humans is in form of selenomethionine, considered as amino acid methionine in body proteins. 28-46% of selenium is mostly stored in our skeletal muscle. So one thing is to take in selenite as a supplement but if it does not have a high content of amino acid protein (cysteine and methionine) it has very little help for our body system but can cause bigger issues in our skin and hair.

To find your personal levels of selenium at the current moment in your body, you need blood and urine test. To find out the long-term levels in your body, the analysis needs to be done through your hair and nails.

Average Selenite Daily Valu is 55mcg. Maximum is 400mcg. The best source of selenium is food like brazil nuts, seafood and organ meats (liver, heart, kidneys etc). Other food sources include grains and cereal, muscle meats like duck breast, dairy and eggs.

Source: national Institute of Health

The amount of selenium in a given type of plant-based food depends on the amount of selenium in the soil. As a result, selenium concentration in plant-based foods varies widely by geographic location. The selenium content of soil affects the amounts of selenium in the plants that animals eat, so geography also applies here. HOWEVER, selenium concentration in soil has a smaller effect on animal products than in plant-based foods, because animals maintain predictable tissue concentration of selenium through a homeostatic mechanism.

Source: National Institute of Health

Selenium deficiency produces biochemical changes that might predispose people who experience additional stresses to develop certain illnesses. Most common we all know – VIRAL INFECTIONS. But it is also related to male infertility, Keshan disease, Kashin-Beck disease, thyroid issues, cognitive decline and cardiovascular diseases.

Source: National Institute of Health

Like in life, too much of something good is never too good either. Overdoing selenite can give you health risks. The most common symptoms are garlic-smelled breath and a metallic taste in your mouth. Other more common we know are hair loss and brittle nails. More severe symptoms would be nausea, lesion on the skin and nervous system, trembles, skin rashes, diarrhoea, mottled teeth and fatigue.

So before you decide to set up your plant based diet, do some research of the ingredients you are going to use. Where are the areas that your food comes from and how rich is the soil your food grown in. Or maybe consider flexitarian diet instead – have and egg or two in a month to raise levels of the Selenite to stop yourself getting sick these winter month ahead.

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