Selenium is

  • Selenium (from Ancient Greek σελήνη (selḗnē) 'Moon') was discovered in 1817 by Jöns Jacob Berzelius
  • The essential trace element selenium is of fundamental importance to human and Animal Health.
  • Without selenium, the function of the selenium-requiring proteins can be compromised which results in the signs and symptoms of deficiency. this selenium must be obtained through dietary sources.

Reference : Selenium in Human Nutrition and Health(Myung-Hee Lee), Wikipedia

1973

Selenium was identified as an essential component of glutathione peroxidase enzyme(GSH) having a biological role as an antioxidant

1975

Selenium has been proved an essential nutrient for man by Awasthi et al. They purified human erythrocyte glutathione peroxidase and found the 3.5 gram-atoms of selenium were present per mole of protein.

1987

Approval was granted for selenium supplements to swine and certain poultry diets.(FDA, 1974) The World Health Organization recommended the required dietary intake of selenium to be 50-200μg/day for adults.(WHO, 1987)

1960~80

Many diseases in animals, birds and humans that have long been unknown to cause have been linked to selenium deficiency.

Characteristics

Selenium deficiency can cause several health problems. Since the aging process, as well as certain diseases, including cancer and cardiovascular disease, is associated with an increase in oxidative damage, maintaining adequate selenium intakes may provide some protection against these processes.

Anti-oxidizing Action

Selenium neutralizes free radicals and other skin-damaging compounds before they lead to wrinkles. It’s similar to vitamin E and actually works with the vitamin to safeguard cell membranes, the protective coating around cells. That makes selenium a key player when it comes to slowing the signs of aging. In fact, research has shown that it’s a triple treat, protecting against UV-induced cell damage, skin inflammation and pigmentation.

Growth Promotion

In growing years, selenium deficiency is very sensitive, causing growth degradation and weight gain.

Improve Thyroid Function

Hydrogen peroxide is a component that is generated by the Thyroid gland. The hydrogen peroxide is known to cause the Thyroid to suffer from oxidative stress. Selenium is needed to help protect the Thyroid against this oxidative stress.

Boosts the Immune System

Selenium is crucial for the health and proper functioning of the immune system. This antioxidant helps lower oxidative stress in the body, which reduces inflammation and enhances immunity. Higher levels of selenium may be beneficial for boosting the immune system in patients with HIV, influenza, tuberculosis and hepatitis C.

Inhibition of inflammation

Selenium blocks the activation of NF-kB, the main controller of inflammation in the body. As a result, fewer inflammatory substances are released into the bloodstream.

Increase Sperm Motility

As sperm antioxidant selenium protected its motility and fertility.

Detoxification of Harmful Substances

Selenium acts as a mercury magnet with a very strong binding affinity for the toxic substance. This strong attraction allows selenium to mix and neutralize their reaction characteristics. This new Hg–Se substance that is produced is not absorbed by the body and gets flushed out of the system.

Prevent progression of muscle weakness

Selenium’s antioxidant effects help protect muscles from oxidative damage, one of the factors that contributes to the loss of strength that generally occurs with age.

Source & Demand

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Sources of Selenium

  • Garlic, Brazil nuts, sesame seeds, legumes, fish, meat, and poultry are rich in selenium, but the amount depends on how much is in their environment or the soil in which they are grown.
  • Rain, evaporation, pesticides, and pH levels can all affect selenium levels in soil.
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Increase in Demand

  • The demand for selenium is increasing due to chronic diseases, stress, and increased UV dose.
  • The demand for selenium is increasing due to pesticides, heavy metals and environmental pollutants.
  • Aging leads to an increase in the demand for selenium, but also to a decrease in absorption.

Food & Eating

  • Selenium itself can exist in a number of different chemical forms or species, and these different species can be present at different levels in different foodstuffs.
  • Selenium species include organically bound forms such as selenomethionine, selenocysteine, and Se-methyl-selenocysteine as well as inorganic forms such as selenite and selenate.
  • For example, selenium in foods such as bread, cereals, nuts, meat, fish and other seafood is found predominantly as the amino acid derivatives, selenomethionine, and selenocysteine.
  • Organically bound forms of selenium(selenomethionine) have been shown to possess greater bioavailability than inorganic forms with selenite being less bioavailable than selenate.