Suffering From Infertility? Taking the Right Amount of Selenium Could Be the Solution
There are many essential minerals that are needed in small amounts but play an important role in several bodily functions. Selenium is one such mineral which is an absolute must for the proper functioning of our body. Let’s talk about this important mineral and how it can prevent us from several diseases.
Why is selenium crucial for health?
Selenium is a vital mineral that is found in abundance in the soil. It also naturally appears in food and water. Though we need less amount of selenium as compared to vitamins and other minerals, this micronutrient still holds an important place. Below pointers will help shed some light on the significance of selenium.
Rich source of anti-oxidants
Selenium is known for its excellent anti-oxidants properties which boost the immune system against free radicals and help fight aging process. It also defends against some cancers including colon, rectal and prostate.
Selenium is the ingredient necessary for proper motility of sperm and increment of blood flow. These two major components play a crucial role in conception. Selenium is integrated into the sperm cell and may change the functioning and behavior of the sperm as it travels through the vaginal canal.
Reduces symptoms of asthma
Various studies suggest that people with asthma have low level of selenium. And when these people were given selenium supplements, their symptoms improved.
Helps in regulation of thyroid
The thyroid performs several everyday functions including metabolism, appetite, sleep, and temperature among others. According to some studies, there is a strong link between thyroid function and deficiency of selenium. It protects the thyroid from antibodies that could give rise to various thyroid diseases including Grave’s disease and Hashimoto’s disease.
Selenium is extremely necessary for the adequate functioning of our immune system. It can also act as a protective shield against the development of viruses. In some studies, giving dose of selenium to patients with HIV has shown positive results in slowing down the progression of HIV into aids.
Prevents heart diseases
A rich selenium diet may also help in keeping the heart healthy. It fights inflammation, increases blood flow and cut the risk of getting coronary artery disease.
How much selenium is required for our body?
Selenium deficiency is uncommon around the world as most people can get selenium from their everyday diet. Below is the daily recommended allowance (RDA) for selenium:
- Birth to 6 months – 15 microgram/day
- 7-12 months – 20 microgram/day
Toddlers and children
- 1-3 years of age – 20 micrograms/day
- 4-8 years of age – 30 micrograms/day
- 9-13 years of age – 40 micrograms/day
Teenagers and adults
- 14 years and above – 55 micrograms/day
Pregnant and breastfeeding women
- Pregnant women – 60 micrograms/day
- Breastfeeding women – 70 micrograms/day
What are the health risks of low selenium or overdose of it?
Most people are advised to get their nutrition from the food itself. And rather concentrating on a single nutrient, one should include variety of nutrients in a well-balanced diet. Selenium does not have any side effects if it is taken within the tolerable range. According to experts, the safe upper limit of selenium is 400 micrograms (mcg). Anything above this figure is considered an overdose.
Too much of selenium can cause fever, bad breath, nausea, joint pain and create problems in liver, kidneys, and heart. This happens by consuming large amount of selenium. As a result, it can give rise to selenium toxicity or selenosis. The selenium can also interact with certain drugs and supplements and cause problems.
Selenium deficiency on the other hand, can also inflict a range of symptoms including fatigue, muscle weakness, hair loss, infertility in both men and women and weak immune system. Selenium-rich diet can help prevent these symptoms.
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Can specific foods prevent selenium deficiency?
Selenium can be derived naturally from foods. It depends on the soil, location and climate conditions. Consuming an adequate amount of below-mentioned foods can easily fulfill selenium deficiency. Both veg and non-veg foods can do the job but it is preferable to go for non-veg foods due to their high amount of selenium content.
Veg foods high in selenium
This food from fungi family besides high in selenium is also loaded with nutrients such as iron and vitamin D. Mushrooms can be included in the diet through variety of recipes.
Dietary value – 100 grams serving contains 12 mcg of selenium, that amount to approx. 22 percent of total dietary intake.
Why not start the day with a wholesome nutritious meal? You also get a high dose of iron and vitamin B6. Have a healthy combination of egg and oatmeal in the morning.
Dietary value – A cup of cooked oatmeal can give you about 13 mcg of selenium, which is 24 percent of the daily recommended allowance.
Dietary value – 1 cup cooked spinach can provide 11 mcg of selenium, 20 percent of the daily requirement.
This whole grain besides high selenium content has a nutty flavor. Brown rice is also rich in manganese, thiamine, magnesium and vitamin B6. And if you enjoy this grain with chicken, you are not only getting a delicious meal but almost the entire daily dietary need for selenium.
Dietary value – 1 cup can give you 19 mcg of selenium, 35 percent of total daily requirement.
Cheese is a word that makes our mouth drooling. A perfect low-fat diet, cottage cheese (paneer) apart from providing high selenium content is super healthy food filled with protein, healthy saturated fats, calcium and B vitamin.
Dietary value – 1 cup of fresh cottage cheese contains 20 mcg of selenium, which is more than 30 percent of the daily required intake.
Milk or yogurt
Milk is a superfood that needs no introduction. It is replete with calcium, protein and other vital minerals. Both milk and yogurt contains equal amount of selenium. Milk can be added to cereal for a healthy start of the day.
Dietary value – 1 cup of either milk or yogurt can give 8 mcg of selenium, that’s 11 percent of the daily dietary intake. Not bad at all.
Role of Sulfur in our body and recommended dietary intake
Non-veg foods high in selenium
One of the foods that have been serving the purpose of living by providing all vital nutrients is egg. One of the most nutritious foods on the planet, eggs contain high amount of protein, several vitamins, choline, phosphorus and zinc. From boiled to omelet and fried, eggs can be relished in a variety of ways.
Dietary value – 1 hard-boiled egg contains 20mcg of selenium.
One of the most pleasing foods of the non-vegetarians, chicken contains a decent amount of protein, vitamin B6, potassium, and phosphorous. Cook, grille or fry, chickens are always relishing.
Dietary value – 100 grams serving can provide 27.6 mcg of selenium, equals to 39 percent of what is required daily.
Beef (bade ka meat) is one of the richest sources of selenium among the non-veg foods. Besides, it’s a good source of protein, iron, vitamin C, vitamin B12 and copper. You can grille beef with salad including spinach to get a healthy dose of selenium.
Dietary value – A round bottom of beef steak contains 33 mcg while liver can give 28 mcg of selenium. A 100 grams serving would be more than enough (137 percent) of the daily dietary requirement.
Called as rawas in India, salmon fish is full of selenium content. This fish also contains high amount of omega-3 fatty acids necessary for healthy heart and brain. Salmon can be served in boiled, baked and broiled form.
Dietary value – 100 grams of serving provides 41 mcg of selenium, which calculates to 75 percent of the total daily need.
1. Selenium: Fact Sheet for Consumers(2016, February 17). NIH read more
2. Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Selenium, and Carotenoids(2000). read more
3. Allam MF and Lucane RA(2004).Selenium supplementation for asthma read more
4. Hansen JC and Deguchi Y(1996).Selenium and fertility in animals and man-a review read more
5. Pieczyńs J and Grajeta H(2015, January).The role of selenium in human conception and pregnancy read more