Spot Light on Selenium!

Food as Medicine encourages each of us to incorporate a variety of whole foods and nutrients that are clean and organic to ensure we are maximizing our essential ingredients for good health! This post puts a Spot Light is on Selenium!

Minerals are key nutrients in our diet that play important roles in our overall health. This week we'll focus on Selenium, which is one of Dr. Nyarai's favorite minerals.

So what is Selenium exactly? It is a trace element found in soil and is essential for numerous metabolic functions.

How important is Selenium? Well it is present in most cells, especially in the thyroid, kidneys, liver, spleen, testes and pancreas. Selenium is a powerful antioxidant which helps to reduce free radicals that cause cellular damage in conjunction with vitamin E. Additionally, selenium provides thyroid support by participating in the process of activating the thyroid hormone.

What are sources for Selenium? The best known selenium source is Brazil nuts. Other primary sources are fish, mushroom, asparagus, mustard seeds, meat, eggs, spinach, cabbage, Swiss chard, broccoli, garlic, sunflower seeds and walnuts. Optimal selenium levels can be gained by eating one of these food serving per meal. The RDA for Selenium in adults is 55mcg/day and daily value is 70mcg. The U.S. RDA for children ranges from 10mcg -15mcg for infants, 20mcg - 30mcg ages 1 to 10 years and 45mcg - 50mcg ages 11-18 years.

While Selenium is essential to optimize your health, remember that too much of a good thing can end up being a bad thing. Although rare, too high an intake of selenium can be toxic and can cause gastrointestinal distress, hair loss, white spots on nails, fatigue, and irritability. Severe gastrointestinal disorders may reduce the body's ability to absorb selenium, so healing the gut is a critical step to achieving optimal health.

Be sure to check in later this week for another spot light on Selenium and its role in thyroid function.

Be well! Dr. Nyarai


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