Top Selenium Benefits You've Never Heard Before


Top Selenium Benefits You've Never Heard Before

 Selenium is a trace mineral that plays a crucial role in various aspects of our health. While many people may be aware of its involvement in thyroid function and its ability to fight free radicals, there are several lesser-known benefits of selenium that are worth exploring. In this article, we will delve into the intriguing aspects of selenium and uncover some surprising facts that you may have never heard before.

The Power of Selenium

Selenium is abundantly found in Brazil nuts, which are known for their high selenium content. One Brazil nut can provide you with approximately 96 micrograms of selenium, which is more than enough to meet your daily requirements. Selenium is essential for thyroid function as it aids in converting the inactive thyroid hormone (T4) into the active form (T3). Additionally, selenium possesses detoxifying properties that can help eliminate mercury from the body, making it a potential ally in cancer prevention, particularly for prostate and lung cancer.

Selenium and Cardiovascular Health

Beyond its role in thyroid function and cancer prevention, selenium also plays a significant role in cardiovascular health. It helps combat free radicals and inflammation, which are known contributors to cardiovascular disease. By neutralizing these harmful elements, selenium can potentially reduce the risk of strokes and other cardiovascular complications. Furthermore, selenium's antioxidant properties make it a valuable nutrient in the prevention of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

Unveiling the Mystery of Brazil Nuts

Have you ever wondered why Brazil nuts are so rich in selenium? The answer lies in the unique soil where the Brazil resilient tree grows. The soil in these regions is nearly devoid of sulfur, and interestingly, selenium and sulfur share similar chemical properties. Selenium can bind with certain amino acids, just like sulfur, and function as a substitute for sulfur in the body. Therefore, consuming just one Brazil nut can provide you with an ample amount of selenium.

The Dangers of Excessive Selenium Intake

While selenium deficiency is a concern for many individuals worldwide, it is important to note that excessive selenium intake can also have adverse effects on health. Consuming too much selenium can lead to selenium toxicity, resulting in symptoms such as hair loss, neuropathies, tremors, and other neurological problems. It is crucial to maintain a balance and not overload the body with selenium. The recommended daily intake for selenium ranges between 50 and 70 micrograms.

The Widespread Selenium Deficiency

If selenium is found in various foods, why are so many people deficient in this essential mineral? While Brazil nuts are a good source of selenium, it is not the only food that contains it. Meats, including red meats, organ meats, and poultry, as well as shellfish and egg yolks, are also rich in selenium. However, the key lies in the soil and the role of microbes in making selenium available to plants. Selenium is not readily absorbed by plant roots and requires the assistance of microbes to be extracted from the soil.

Microbes: The Unsung Heroes of Selenium Absorption

Microbes play a pivotal role in the absorption of selenium by plants. These microscopic organisms help convert selenium into a form that plant roots can effectively extract. The process is known as rhizophagy, which translates to "root-eating." Plant roots consume bacteria, extracting minerals from them, and then release the bacteria back into the soil to repeat the cycle. The health and diversity of these microbes directly impact the availability of selenium in the soil, which, in turn, affects the selenium content in plants.

The Importance of Soil Microbe Diversity

Maintaining a healthy balance of microbes in the soil is vital for the absorption of selenium by plants. Unfortunately, conventional farming practices often overlook the significance of soil biology and microbe diversity. Instead, farmers resort to synthetic fertilizers containing nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (NPK) to boost plant growth. However, this approach compromises soil health, leading to pest infestations and the need for pesticides and herbicides. The repercussions extend beyond the soil, affecting the health of animals and humans alike.

The Impact on Human Health

The declining microbe diversity in the soil and the consumption of processed, sterilized, and pasteurized foods have a direct impact on human health. Without a diverse microbial ecosystem in our soil and food, our immune system suffers, making us more susceptible to infections and diseases. Antibiotic use becomes more prevalent, further disrupting the delicate balance of microbes. Even the soil we purchase for gardening often undergoes sterilization, eliminating the beneficial microbes necessary for nutrient absorption by plants.

Selenium and Genetic Mutations

Some individuals may have genetic mutations related to proteins or enzymes involved in selenium metabolism. In such cases, it becomes even more crucial to ensure adequate selenium intake to support the synthesis of essential enzymes like glutathione. Glutathione plays a vital role in liver health and detoxification processes, including the elimination of toxins like mercury. Individuals taking statin drugs, which interfere with selenium-related enzymes, may experience muscle and neurological symptoms that mimic selenium deficiency. Adequate selenium intake can protect muscles and mitigate these side effects.

Selenium and Microbiome Health

In addition to its role in overall health, selenium has been found to have a direct impact on the diversity and abundance of our gut microbiome. Selenium supplementation can increase the diversification of the microbiome and stimulate the growth of beneficial microorganisms. This is particularly beneficial for individuals with dysbiosis or imbalances in their gut flora. By promoting a healthy and diverse microbiome, selenium indirectly supports various aspects of our health, including digestion, immune function, and overall well-being.


Selenium is a remarkable trace mineral with numerous benefits that extend beyond its well-known role in thyroid function and antioxidant activity. From its association with cardiovascular health and neurodegenerative diseases to its impact on microbiome health, selenium plays a crucial role in maintaining overall well-being. It is essential to strike a balance in selenium intake, avoiding both deficiency and excess. By understanding the role of microbes in selenium absorption and supporting sustainable farming practices, we can ensure a healthier future for ourselves and the planet. So, consider incorporating selenium-rich foods like Brazil nuts and diverse, organic sources into your diet to reap the full benefits of this extraordinary mineral.


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