Selenium is vital, yet not often discussed trace mineral. Selenium, a component of the antioxidant enzyme glutathione peroxidase, works with vitamin E in preventing free-radical damage to cell membranes.
It is also a vital cofactor for the thyroid hormone processes that activate and deactivate the thyroid hormones. It’s so important to thyroid health that deficiencies can cause low thyroid symptoms.
Studies have shown that selenium promotes the excretion of mercury from the body making it important for detoxification.
Selenium is also vital for reproductive health. In women, selenium is important for fertility and fetal development, and in men, it enables sperm motility.
Some of the signs of selenium deficiency include:
- Hypothyroid symptoms
- Weakness or pain in the muscles
- Discoloration of the hair or skin
- Whitening of the nail beds
- Heart arrhythmias
- Deterioration of joint tissue
- Infertility in men and women
- Ovarian cysts
I always recommend trying to get nutrients from food first. For selenium, the absolute best food source is Brazil nuts. Just 3-4 Brazil nuts a day will give you all the selenium you need!
Other food sources include tuna, beef liver, oats, brown rice and lean protein like pork loin and turkey breast. If you need to supplement selenium, it’s important to not take too high of a dose as too much selenium is toxic.
By neutralizing free radicals, selenium plays a major role in protecting our DNA from serious damage. Since selenium plays such a major role in so many important functions, understanding our personal genetics can be helpful in deciding how much selenium to include in your diet and if supplementation might be necessary.
There are genes that show whether you might have a propensity towards lower selenium levels, while other genes specifically code for the selenium enzyme processes that activate or deactivate thyroid hormones and thyroid hormone conversion. You can see how powerful your DNA truly is!
With my program, DNA Made Simple, you can unlock your genetic potential to optimize your health. When approaching your health, it’s important to consider all of the factors: underlying inflammation or infection, diet, lifestyle habits, gut health, hormone imbalances, and the list goes on.
With all of that, your genetics – your personal DNA code – holds many of the keys to optimizing your health, and that includes understanding which vitamins and nutrients your body may not be able to use or transport efficiently.