Selenium is an essential mineral that is needed in trace amounts for the correct function of many bodily processes.
There are two main types of selenium, organic and inorganic. The inorganic selenium is contained in our soils and taken up by plants and converted into organic selenium and available to humans as food.
The body uses selenium for creating DNA and proper thyroid function. It also plays an important role in the reproductive and immune systems.
People who live in areas with low selenium in the soil are prone to selenium deficiency. This is not so much the case in the developed world where food is consumed from a very wide range. However many food producing areas have low selenium soil content due to intensive farming techniques. Other groups at risk are people undergoing kidney dialysis and those living with HIV.
Due to selenium's important role in maintaining a healthy immune system a deficiency can lead to many types of health issues. Once an infection sets in a disease called Keshan disease, a disease of the heart muscle, can develop. Selenium deficiency has also been linked to male infertility and a type of osteoporosis called Kashin-Beck disease.
Selenium: Recommended Daily Allowance*:
|*All measurements expressed in mcg.|