The selenium content of the soil in parts of Europe, New Zealand, China and Africa are particularly low and levels of Selenium in the soil in the UK has dropped dramatically over the last 20 years.

Selenium intake in the UK through the diet is known to be insufficient according to a study conducted in 2015, with 50.3% females and 25.8% males having total intakes beneath the LRNI (1)

What is Selenium?

Though you may have never heard of selenium, this amazing nutrient is vital to your health. Selenium is an essential mineral, meaning it must be obtained through your diet. It is only needed in small amounts, but plays a major role in important processes in the body.

Why do we need Selenium?

  • Selenium is an important cell protector. It helps to protect the body from oxidative stress. Just as when left, iron rusts, this is oxidation, it occurs naturally in living creatures including our body. Specific nutrients can help protect the body from this process which you see on supplements described as ‘oxidative stress’ – When left, an apple decays or iron rusts, this is the process of oxidation. Just as a lemon stops fruit from browning. The body also makes even more powerful ‘antioxidants’ and Selenium is a key in this process.
  • Selenium plays an important role in keeping your immune system functioning at its best, it works both by keeping cells healthy and also helping with the development of antibodies. 
  • Selenium involved in the regulation of thyroxine, the hormone responsible for regulating your metabolic rate. Selenium helps keep your thyroid functioning and healthy. 
  • Selenium is also an important mineral for the production of sperm in men, low levels are associated with sub-fertility in men. 
  • Selenium is also widely used in supplements to keep skin and nails healthy.

How to eat more Selenium?

Selenium is found in the following food sources: yeast, fish, poultry, meats, wholegrains, cabbage and broccoli and in particular brazil nuts.

Emma Derbyshire 2018 

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