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What are the Benefits of Selenium?

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  • Written By: Felicia Dye
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 25 September 2016
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Selenium is a trace mineral that is derived from soil. Consumption of the mineral is necessary to maintain good health. It is especially essential to certain organs such as the kidneys, liver, and testes. It can be found in foods such as Brazilian nuts, shellfish, and brown rice. Benefits of selenium include preventing cellular damage and protecting the heart.

A healthy life cannot be maintained without selenium. The human body needs this mineral to protect the cells. This is done because the mineral helps the body create antioxidants, which protect the body’s cells from free-radical damage.

For this reason, the mineral is often credited for anti-aging properties. In addition to promoting healthy skin, research also shows that promoting a healthy scalp is one of the benefits of selenium. Selenium can be found in some hair care products because the mineral is credited with the ability to reduce dandruff.

Most people acquire the needed amount of this mineral through regular eating habits. Selenium deficiencies are possible, however, and may occur when the mineral is only minimally present in the soil in a certain area. When this happens, a condition such as Keshan disease can develop, highlighting the important role that this mineral plays in maintaining a healthy heart. Keshan disease is a condition where the heart muscle degenerates.

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This mineral also appears to help regulate the consistency of blood. By doing so, it reduces the risk of blood clots, which help to reduce the risks of stroke and heart attack. Furthermore, it increases the ratio of good cholesterol versus bad cholesterol, and good cholesterol is essential to a healthy heart.

The abilities to fight and treat cancer are some of the most promising benefits of selenium. Although the effectiveness of using this mineral for these purposes remains a matter of debate, research has shown a great deal of promise. Research supports the theory that selenium can help reduce the number of cancer related deaths when the disease affects areas such as the ovaries, lungs, and liver. There is also research that shows a connection between selenium and the prevention of prostate cancer.

It is possible to capitalize on the benefits of selenium by taking supplements to increase intake. This raises concerns regarding a selenium problem which is more likely than deficiency: overdosing. Excessive selenium intake can result in adverse effects, such as loss of hair, depression, and vomiting. For, this reason, people are advised never to exceed 600 mcg per day.

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