Selenium and Its Importance in Women’s Health

Selenium is a powerful nutrient that keeps your thyroid healthy. On top of that, it provides protection from other illnesses associated with aging, such as arthritis and certain cancers.

It has a positive effect on the thyroid, which plays an important role in the human body. Part of the endocrine system, the thyroid is distinctive because of its butterfly shape. It produces the hormones that are essential in regulating your metabolism.

In addition to keeping your thyroid running smoothly, Selenium aids in:

  • Regulating thyroid hormone synthesis
  • Supporting the conversion of thyroxine to triiodothyronine
  • Protecting thyroid tissues when the thyroid is under oxidative stress

The mineral plays a crucial role in women’s health. There are no studies specifically explaining why women are more prone to thyroid-related diseases, but it may be due to the female autoimmune system.

One of the most common forms of hypothyroidism is Hashimoto’s disease, which is an autoimmune problem. Autoimmune diseases, in turn, are more common in women, which may also be attributed to their genetic makeup.

Having two X chromosomes make women live longer, but it also makes them more susceptible to autoimmune diseases. According to the NIH, eighty percent of individuals with autoimmune diseases are women.

This is why it is essential that women become more aware of the benefits of Selenium to the thyroid since they are more prone to thyroid-related diseases.

If you are trying to get pregnant, selenium can boost your fertility. How so? According to this research study, selenium plays an important role in the development of healthy ovarian follicles, which are responsible for egg production in women. Sufficient amount of the mineral is crucial when pregnant, especially during the early stages of conception.

Research indicates that when breastfeeding, selenium is secreted through the breastmilk. This is why breastfeeding moms should have more selenium intake since it is distributed for the mother and baby. The mineral is important for both since it boosts their immune system and provides their bodies with the antioxidants needed.

Selenium’s effects on DNA repair, endocrine, and immune systems also helps boost resistance to different diseases. The mineral also plays a role in the prevention of cancer, including breast cancer, which is prevalent in women.

Men should also maintain a healthy daily dose of selenium. Selenium has antioxidant properties that counter the effects of aging, stimulates the immune system, and keeps the thyroid healthy.

Daily Recommended Intake of Selenium for Every Age

If you are pregnant or a breastfeeding mom, you need 60-70 mcg of selenium daily, which is more than the usual amount. Otherwise, according to the National Institutes of Health’s research, the following table dictates the amount of Selenium your body needs depending on your age:

Age Dosage
14 years and above 55 mcg
9-13 years 40 mcg
4-8 years 30 mcg
7 months to 3 years 20 mcg
Birth to 6 months 15 mcg

The doses mentioned above are generally recommended, but it may differ if you have:

  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Under-active thyroid
  • Skin cancer

List of Food That is Rich Sources of Selenium

You should always make sure that you have sufficient amount of Selenium to satisfy your body’s needs. There are lots of food that contain this mineral, but here are some of its richest sources:

  • Meat
    • Beef
    • Chicken
    • Ham
    • Pork
    • Turkey
  • Seafood
    • Crab
    • Salmon
    • Shrimp
  • Others
    • Baked Beans
    • Brazil Nuts
    • Brown Rice
    • Cashews and Bananas
    • Cottage Cheese
    • Eggs
    • Lentils
    • Mushrooms
    • Milk and Yogurt
    • Oatmeal
    • Spinach
    • Sunflower Seeds

Consumption in the form of food rich in Selenium or through pharmaceutical supplements posts no complications. However, you may have difficulty absorbing Selenium if you are:

  • Receiving kidney dialysis
  • Diagnosed with HIV
  • Suffering from Chron’s disease or any other gastrointestinal condition
  • Living in selenium-deficient regions

Side Effects of Excessive and Long-term Selenium Intake

You should take note, however, that too little Selenium is not good for your body, but neither is too much of it. Consuming Selenium over an extended period or using it excessively may lead to diabetes and other dangerous side effects such as:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Irritability
  • Metallic taste, bad breath, and strong body odor
  • Easy bruising or bleeding

Effects of Selenium Deficiency in the Body

Sufficient amounts of selenium in the body make it is easier for the thyroid to produce hormones. When not enough of these hormones are made, you can suffer from hypothyroidism or an underactive thyroid. On the other hand, when the thyroid produces too much hormones, you may have a condition called hyperthyroidism.

Selenium deficiency can be addressed by consuming food rich with the mineral or taking pharmaceutical or prescription drugs. Signs that may indicate low levels of selenium include:

  • Weakness or pain in the muscle
  • Discoloration of hair and skin
  • Whitening of fingernail beds

Food is still the best source of Selenium, and pharmaceutical drugs should only be a secondary option if not the last resort. Check your current Selenium level and take the necessary steps to ensure it is what you need.

Selenium supplements should be discussed with a medical professional and as recommended by your attending physician. Disclose your allergies and other relevant information required by the doctor. The information you provide will determine your prescribed dosage.

It could be helpful to check with your doctor and discuss the necessary steps you can take to ensure that you maintain a healthy level of Selenium in your body.

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