When reading the ingredients on supplement labels, you may have seen selenium on the list and wondered, “What is selenium?” That’s a good question. Selenium is a trace mineral found in a variety of foods. It is essential to good health, though humans only require small amounts of it. Increasingly, selenium is showing up in fitness supplements and is considered to be beneficial to overall health for multiple reasons.
Selenium is incorporated into proteins to make selenoproteins. Selenoproteins are important antioxidant enzymes that can help prevent cellular damage caused by free radicals and are one of the important benefits of selenium. Free radicals are formed when oxygen reacts with certain molecules in the body, The particles that are left over from that process are highly unstable free radicals, and everyone has them. Antioxidants can help to reduce free radicals. Other selenoproteins help regulate your thyroid function and may play a role in supporting proper immune function. Certain enzymes and antioxidants can also help support the body’s natural anti-inflammatory systems and natural healing process. This can be beneficial to those with an active lifestyle, when muscle and joint discomfort can be hard to ignore.
Selenium deficiency is rare, but it can cause problems with the immune system and thyroid function, so it’s important to make sure that you have a healthy amount of selenium in your diet. Selenium-rich foods such as Brazil nuts and tuna can provide plenty of selenium for your dietary needs. Selenium can also be found in certain health supplements to promote healing and immune health.
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