Benefits and Side Effects of Selenium

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What is Selenium? Selenium is an essential trace element the body needs for good health and proper functioning. It is found in soil and water and is bioconcentrated by plants from the soil. Plants and animals that live in places where the soil is rich in selenium have high amounts of this mineral. Selenium exists in inorganic and organic forms. Inorganic selenium occurs in the soil as selenite and selenate while organic selenium occurs as selenoproteins such as selenocysteine and selenomethionine. Plants accumulate inorganic selenium from the soil and converts this to organic form, which is consumed by animals and man. In the body, selenium is incorporated with aminoacids like methionine to form selenomethionine. It is mostly stored as proteins in the skeletal muscles, which account for up to 46% of the total selenium found in the body. Other forms of organic selenium may be converted to selenophosphate for the synthesis of other selenoproteins. Selenium is essential as a cofactor of certain enzymes that help maintain normal body functions. For example, it aids in the reduction of glutathione peroxidase enzymes, which have antioxidant activity. It also acts as a cofactor of thyroid hormone enzymes and is therefore important in all thyroid gland activities. Selenium Food Sources Selenium rich foods include seafoods, organ meats, muscle meats, dairy products, cereals and grains, breads, poultry, and eggs. Nuts, especially Brazil nuts and walnuts, are excellent selenium foods. Eating just 6-8 pieces of Brazil nuts can supply more than 700% of the daily value (DV) of selenium recommended by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Many types of fish, like cod, tuna, halibut, sardines, herring, and red snapper are good selenium... ... middle of paper ... ...the amount of selenium one needs for adequate nutrition in most healthy people have been defined as: Group Recommended Dietary Allowance (micrograms/day) Children 0-3 years 10 to 20 Children 4-8 years 20 to 30 Children 9-13 years 40 Above 14 years 55 Pregnant women 60 to 65 Breastfeeding women 70 to 75 Tolerable Upper Intake Levels (UL) for Selenium: Groups UL (micrograms) Birth to 6 months 45 7–12 months 60 1–3 years 90 4–8 years 150 9–13 years 280 14–18 years 400 19+ years 400 Pregnant 400 Lactating 400 Works Cited WebMD. Selenium. http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/lifestyle-guide-11/supplement-guide-selenium NIH. Selenium. http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Selenium-HealthProfessional/ Mayo Clinic. Selenium Supplement (Oral Route). http://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/selenium-supplement-oral-route/description/drg-20063649

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