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MINERALS: Selenium

Overview of Minerals | Calcium | Chromium | Copper | Iodine | Iron | Magnesium | Zinc | Manganese | Molybdenum | Phosphorus | Potassium | Selenium | Other Trace Elements



Functions of Selenium

  • Is a major antioxidant nutrient, protects cell membranes and prevents free radical generation thereby decreasing the risk of cancer and disease of the heart and blood vessels.
  • Medical surveys show that increased selenium intake decreases the risk of breast, colon, lung and prostate cancer.
  • Selenium also preserves tissue elasticity; slows down the aging and hardening of tissues through oxidation; helps in the treatment and prevention of dandruff.

Deficiency Selenium

Premature aging, heart disease, dandruff, loose skin. Very low selenium status is a factor in the etiologies of a juvenile cardiomyopathy (Keshan Disease) and a chondrodystrophy (Kashin-Beck Disease) that occur in selenium-deficient regions of China.

Recommended dietary allowance for Selenium

See Recommended dietary allowances for minerals.

Food sources of Selenium

Brazil nuts, kidney, liver, wholemeal bread, mackerel, wheatgerm, bran, tuna fish, onions, tomatoes, broccoli.

Toxicity of Selenium

Selenium toxicity is usually caused by industrial or accidental exposures to selenium-compounds in very high amounts (several milligrams per day) and is characterized by dermatologic lesions; brittle hair and nails/hooves. These manifestations are reversible upon resuming regular selenium intakes.