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Selenium - Benefits, Deficiency Symptoms And Food Sources

What is Selenium?

Selenium is an essential nutrient for many species, including humans. Deficiencies of this element are very apparent in animals, with symptoms ranging from muscular dystrophy in lambs, to the destruction of liver tissue in pigs. Selenium is an important constituent of the enzyme glutathione peroxidase, it is responsible for destroying lipid-damaging peroxides. In this role, selenium complements the anti-oxidizing function of vitamin E. Selenium is very effective naturally occurring weapons against cancer. It is a very important antioxidant. Selenium deficiency is becoming increasingly linked to higher levels of cancer, heart disease, AIDS and even miscarriages. This trace mineral is essential to many body functions and can be found in every body cell, but especially in the kidneys, liver, spleen, pancreas, and testes.

Uses and Benefits of Selenium

  1. Selenium can be used during chemotherapy in combination with vitamin A and vitamin E to reduce the toxicity of chemotherapy drugs.
  2. Selenium also helps in protects against heart & circulatory disease.
  3. Selenium works with Vitamin E as an antioxidant to prevent cancer and heart disease.
  4. Selenium is very important for keeping cell membranes healthy. Actually cell membranes are responsible for the passage of vital nutrients into and out of all cells.
  5. Selenium may also be important in the regulation of serum cholesterol levels but not proven experimentally.
  6. It also helps to neutralize alcohol, smoke & some fats.
  7. It also fights viral infections and reduces severity of cold sores and shingles.
  8. Selenium also helps in increase male sex drive.

Deficiency Symptoms of Selenium

  1. Selenium deficiency has not play major side effect in humans, although monkeys and other animals have serious physiological manifestations of this deficiency.
  2. Muscle pain, red blood cell fragility, pancreas degeneration, growth retardation, and cataract formation are the general deficiency symptoms in animals.
  3. Children with kwashiorkor have unusually low selenium stores and, therefore, selenium deficiency may occur concomitantly with abnormal protein metabolism.

Recommended Dosage of Selenium

The recommended dietary allowances for different age groups are as follows:
  • For adults it should be 50 to 200 mcg per day
  • For children above 6years should have to use 50 to 200 mcg per day
  • Children 4 to 6 should have to taken 30 to 120 mcg per day
  • Children 1 to 3 years has to be use 20 to 80 mcg per day
  • Infants 0.5 to 1 years has to use 20 to 60 mcg per day
  • Infants 0 to 0.5 years has to use 10 to 40 mcg per day

Rich Food Sources of Selenium

The food sources in which selenium presents are red meat, chicken, turkey, liver, fish, shellfish, dark green leafy vegetables, whole grains, eggs, onions, Brazil nuts, walnuts, brewer's yeast, wheat germ, pasta, noodles, rice, cottage cheese, cheddar cheese and garlic are all good selenium sources.

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