Selenium: a vital trace element

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Selenium is a trace mineral found in soil, water, and some foods. It is an essential nutrient and the body requires it in small amounts to function properly. Selenium is primarily obtained through the diet and plays a vital role in various physiological processes, including antioxidant defence, skin and body health, thyroid hormone metabolism, and immune system support.

The health benefits of selenium include:

Antioxidant Protection: Selenium acts as a powerful antioxidant, helping to combat free radicals and oxidative stress. This can reduce the risk of chronic diseases and support overall health.

Thyroid Function: Selenium is essential for the conversion of thyroid hormones from their inactive to active forms. Adequate selenium levels can help regulate thyroid function and maintain metabolic health.

Immune System Support: Selenium is known to enhance the body’s immune response. It can help protect against infections and contribute to a robust immune system.

Heart Health: Selenium may contribute to cardiovascular health by reducing inflammation and improving blood vessel function.

Mood and Cognitive Function: There is scientific evidence to suggest that selenium may have a positive impact on mood and cognitive function, potentially reducing the risk of depression and cognitive decline.

Cancer Prevention: Some studies suggest that selenium supplementation may reduce the risk of certain cancers, such as prostate, lung, and colorectal cancer. However, more research is needed to confirm these findings.

Key point: Antioxidant and the benefits on skin health

Selenium is a component of enzymes, such as glutathione peroxidase, that help protect cells from oxidative damage caused by free radicals. This antioxidant activity can indirectly benefit the skin by reducing the harmful effects of UV radiation and environmental pollutants.

Adequate selenium intake is essential for overall health, which in turn contributes to healthy skin. A well-balanced diet with sufficient selenium, along with other essential nutrients, supports skin health. Some research suggests that selenium supplementation may be beneficial for certain skin conditions, such as psoriasis.

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