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The Benefits Selenium in a Healthy Diet

Selenium is one of the trace minerals, and as such it is very important to good health and proper nutrition. The many benefits fo this mineral are still being researched, but it is already known to have excellent antioxidant properties, thus having the ability to reduce the damaging effects of free radicals.

>In addition, selenium has shown promise in the fight against such serious diseases as arthritis, cancer, heart disease and cataracts. In addition, some researchers believe that selenium may be useful in boosting the immune system and fertility levels as well. Much research is ongoing, and much remains to be done, into the many benefits of this important mineral.

Dietary Sources of Selenium
The world's number one source of selenium in the diet is the Brazil nut, which boasts an incredible 120mcg of selenium per nut. However, lovers of Brazil nuts should know that excessive selenium can be dangerous.

Some other food sources which are high in selenium include bread, meat and seafood, including tuna, which has a selenium content of approximately 60mcg per serving.

Recommended Daily Intake of Selenium
The recommended daily intake of selenium is 70mcg for men and 55mcg for women. Women who are pregnant should get at least 65mcg of selenium each day.

Symptoms of Selenium Deficiency
Signs of a deficiency in levels of this trace mineral can include such symptoms as muscle weakness and fatigue. Long term selenium deficiency has been linked to heart disease.

Selenium Supplements
Selenium supplements are typically available in 200mcg and 400mcg strengths. These are thought to be the levels at which the most benefits are provided. This trace mineral is also part of many multivitamin and mineral combinations.

Side Effects and Toxicity of Selenium
Since it is stored in the body, it is important not to overdo the level of of this element in the diet and supplements. A very high concentration of selenium is generally needed to cause ill effects, although this is quite rare. Selenium levels that are too high can cause nausea and vomiting, but this toxicity is generally only seen at doses more than 500 times the recommended daily dose.

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