Selenium: A Star Trace Mineral for Bones and more!
Selenium is a super star when it comes to being an awesome antioxidant, supporting healthy thyroid, immune, inflammation and detoxification processes in the body. In the right dose its anti-cancer and aids healthy bone formation.
Selenium key roles
Selenium dependent enzymes:
- Glutathione peroxidases – (5) – all of which are antioxidant enzymes that reduce tissue damage
One example is the enzyme super important for protecting sperm from damage – male fertility
- Thioredoxin reductases – (3) – all important in regulating cell growth and survival
One example is its role in regenerating other antioxidants – vitamin C, vitamin E, CoQ10 & alpha lipoic acid. Another is the testes specific glutathione reductase TGR – very important for men’s fertilityu
- Thyroid hormone deiodionases – 3 enzymes involved in making the thyroid hormone active
Thus has a role in foetal development, growth and metabolism
Selenium-proteins – multiple types important in aspects such as:
- antioxidant support, glucose metabolism, insulin sensitivity
- cancer protection
- regulator of methionine (very important amino acid)
- cellular response to stress
- regulation of inflammatory and immune responses
- So whats this got to do with bones?
Selenium slows bone loss and supports bone building
- Osteoclasts – cells that breakdown bone (clast – cleave)
- Osteoblasts – cells that build bone back up (blasts – build)
- selenoenzymes protect osteoblast cells from damage
- selenoenzymes are essential for healthy osteoblast cell development
- Glutathione peroxidases prevent chronic inflammation which is a major cause of bone loss and restores antioxidant pool
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Selenium is vital for health but its all about balance, too much and it can be toxic
Selenium is best consumed as food sources or supplements with organic selenium such as seleniomethionine & seleniocysteine. It is important not to self prescribe though, seek professional advice as too much selenium is toxic. The upper tolerable limit of Se+ is 400ug /day, higher than this and there is a risk of selenium becoming a pro-oxidant a damaging cells.
Selenium from the diet comes from plants grown in soils with selenium and animals that eat high selenium plants.
New Zealand, Tibet and China have very low selenium soils. Australia is not great but the a lot of the selenium intake comes from wheat which certainly can be a problem for a lot of people.
Plants that take up a decent amount of selenium if its in the soil are:
- Brazil nuts & sunflower seeds,
- garlic & onions
- broccoli and other brassica family vegetables
- rice and other grains
Animal foods that can be rich in selenium
- fish and seafood
- pork, beef, chicken