Functions of selenium to health

Functions of Selenium

Photovoltaic and photographic equipment use selenium for its chemical properties. The glass industry uses selenium to give a red pigment to the glass and enamel. First identified in 1817 by Jakob Jöns Berzeleus, selenium is the translation of the Greek word "selene" meaning moon.

Functions and sources of selenium

Selenium is used in the body to form selenoproteins which are antioxidants. They are not like other antioxidants, which are primarily polyphenols.

Although selenium can be obtained from certain plants, the plants do not produce this substance as do the antioxidant vitamins. The level of selenium in plants varies according to the level of selenium in the soil where each plant is grown.

The mineral selenium is absorbed by plants and converted to other biological compounds. One of these substances, called selenomethionine found in some staples of many diets. Foods like corn, soybeans and wheat contain selenomethionine.

Effects of selenium excess or deficit

Selenium is a trace element in the human diet, ie you only need a small amount. Higher levels tolerable upper level (400 micrograms per day) may incur minor symptoms such as selenosis, alopecia (hair loss). If taking larger amounts through supplements, this can lead to cirrhosis of the liver, or pulmonary edema.

Selenium plays a role in thyroid function and its use can prevent the development of goitre. This is because that is a complement of iodine. Goitre is a growth that occurs in the thyroid gland, which is located in the bottom of the throat, in the absence of iodine in the diet. Selenium deficiency aggravates this condition.

Keshan disease (heart inflammation), Kashin-Beck (osteoarthropathy) myxedema and endemic cretinism (mental retardation) are all known diseases that are caused by selenium deficiency.

Aboriginal diets tend to be low in selenium-Saharan Africa, but high in the northern part of Nebraska and the Dakotas. Diseases such as Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV / AIDS) has been found to increase in number in areas of Africa that has a selenium-poor soil.

This has led researchers to study the possible correlation. We have discovered no evidence of a slow decrease in selenium levels in people suffering from this disease. Anyone with this disease may benefit from selenium supplementation.

In addition, selenium may be supplemented with vitamin E for greater antioxidant effect. Selenium also reduces the formation of cataracts.

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