Khaas Baat : A Publication for Indian Americans in Florida

Micronutrient Super Selenium

Dilip Patel


Selenium (Se), which is nutritionally esSential for humans, is vital to immune system function. It is an esSential trace element for major metabolic pathways since Selenium is an esSential component of Glutathione peroxidaSe enzyme. It is a constituent of more than two dozen Selenoproteins that play critical roles in reproduction, thyroid hormone metabolism, DNA synthesis, and protection from oxidative damage and infection. Diet is the main source of Selenium. 

Role in Health Support

Antioxidant Protection: Se is required for the proper activity of a group of enzymes called glutathione peroxidases. These enzymes play a key role in the body's detoxification system and also provide protection against oxidative stress. (Oxidative stress is physiological circumstance in which there is excessive risk of oxygen-related damage to the body.) Of the eight known glutathione peroxidase enzymes, five of them require Selenium.

Se-containing enzymes are involved in recycling of vitamin C from its spent form back to its active one, allowing for greater antioxidant protection.

Se works in close conjunction with vitamin E as an antioxidant to prevent the formation of free radicals and, in turn, may reduce the risk of skin cancer and prevent sunburn.

Support Normal Thyroid Function: A Se-containing enzyme is responsible for transforming a less active thyroid hormone called T4 into the more active T3. Se and iodine work together to keep thyroid function strong and consistent.

Anti-Inflammatory: Se is involved in the production of prostaglandins in the body, which regulate inflammation and may reduce inflammation related to rheumatoid arthritis.

Se deficiency: Diets high in refined foods may also lead to deficiency, as Se can be destroyed by food processing. Taking anti-inflammatory drugs may reduce the body's supply of Se.

Low Selenium levels can contribute to autoimmune problems, such as psoriasis and thyroid disease. Researchers have been able to induce problems with the thyroid gland in just two months of a low-Se diet.

Supplementing with 200-400mcg per day has been shown to reduce thyroid antibodies. Recommended Daily Allowance, RDA for Se is 55 mcg for adults.

Excellent to good food sources of Se: The amount of Se in food often depends on the Se concentration of the soil and water where the food was grown or raised.

  1. Brazil nuts - one brazil nut can supply one day requirement for Se.

  2. Sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, chia seeds

  3. Fish (tuna, halibut, sardines, flounder, salmon).

  4. Shellfish.

  5. Meat (Beef, liver, lamb, pork).

  6. Poultry (chicken, turkey).

  7. Lima/pinto beans.

  8. Eggs.

  9. Mushrooms (white button, shiitake, crimini).

  10. Grains (oats, wheat, barley, brown rice, long grain rice).

  11. Broccoli, cabbage, spinach, onions.

Toxicity: The most common clinical signs of chronically high Se intakes, or selenosis, are hair and nail loss or brittleness. Other symptoms include lesions of the skin and nervous system, nausea, diarrhea, skin rashes, mottled teeth, fatigue, irritability and nervous system abnormalities

Recipe of the month:

Go Green curry: Serves about 4-5 people


Heat olive oil and temper it with cumin and fennel seeds, cinnamon and clove, sauté chili-ginger-garlic paste, all veggies, add some salt. Add tomatoes and sauté it for 3-5 mints. Add nut mixture to the veggies along with pureed spinach, mix it well and cook it for another 7-10 minutes, till the oil leaves the sides of pan. Add coriander cumin powder and garam masala. Enjoy the curry with starch/protein of your choice!

To our health!

Bhavi Nirav is a Registered Dietitian/M.S., R.D., L.D., certified yoga practitioner, and can be reached at swarayog@gmail.com

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