Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Health Benefits of Selenium

Selenium is a mineral with powerful antioxidant properties that help to protect the cells in your body from oxidative damage. Studies show that selenium is also important in regulating thyroid function and can help to boost the immune system.

Food Sources of Selenium
Brazil nuts are the richest source of selenium. One ounce may provide as much as 544 micrograms. In fact, just two Brazil nuts can provide enough selenium to meet your dietary needs. Selenium may be found in much smaller amounts in tuna, beef, cod, turkey, chicken breast, pasta, egg, cottage cheese, oatmeal and a number of other foods.

Health Benefits of Selenium
Cancer. Studies show that supplementation with 200 micrograms of selenium could lower the risk of prostate, lung and colorectal cancer.

Heart disease. Studies suggest that selenium may help to prevent the buildup of plaque in the arteries and reduce the risk of heart disease.

Arthritis. Preliminary studies suggest that selenium may help to relieve the symptoms of arthritis.

Recommended intake
The Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) for selenium is 55 micrograms per day for adults. Children require much smaller amounts. 

Selenium toxicity
Excessive intake of selenium could be toxic. Accordingly, the Institute of Medicine has established an upper limit of 400 micrograms of selenium for adults, with lower levels for infants and children.