The essential trace element selenium plays an important role when it comes to fertility – in both men and women. If you are thinking about fertility treatment, then selenium should definitely be included in the therapy. Because of the poor soil quality, many Central Europeans suffer from a selenium deficiency. If the longed-for pregnancy occurs, selenium can also prevent complications during pregnancy and developmental disorders in the unborn child.
Selenium for female fertility
Selenium is one of the strongest antioxidants and is required in the body for the function of important enzymes and proteins (e.g. glutathione peroxidase, a powerful detoxifying enzyme or the tumor-protective selenoproteins).
Therefore, selenium is extremely important in all areas of health prevention – whether it is about cardiovascular diseases or cancer, or whatever.
It is its antioxidant properties that make selenium so important for the female reproductive system, as a research team from the Australia’s University of Adelaide discovered.
Prof. Hugh Harris and his colleagues investigated where exactly selenium and the selenoprotein GPX1 can be found in the ovary.
The two substances were particularly numerous in large, healthy egg follicles. The egg follicles are responsible for the production of the egg cells.
According to Australian scientists, selenium and GPX1 created a healthy and clean environment for the egg by eliminating potentially harmful free radicals.
In those oocytes that actually produced a pregnancy, the activity of GPX1 was up to twice as high as in other cells.
So pregnancy seems more likely the better a woman is supplied with selenium.
Selenium for male fertility
Men are also apparently dependent on selenium when it comes to fertility.
Scientists from the Polish Uniwersytet Wrocławski discovered that a selenium deficiency can lead to reduced sperm quality.
It is therefore also important for men to optimize their selenium supply if they would like to become fathers.
Selenium during pregnancy
In addition, Polish researchers emphasize the importance of selenium during pregnancy.
The trace element not only prevents numerous diseases in adults and protects, among other things, the cardiovascular system, the musculoskeletal system, and nerve cells.
It also has the same effect on unborn children. It thus prevents complications during pregnancy such as premature birth and miscarriage, but also malformations and malformations in the foetus.
According to this study, the lower the selenium level in the blood of the expectant mother, the lower the birth weight of the child.
A comprehensive supply of selenium is therefore of the utmost importance when planning a family.
Unfortunately, this is not always so easy, since many of the foods that were once rich in selenium – nuts, broccoli, garlic, coconut, millet, and many more – now have significantly lower selenium levels than a few years ago.
Selenium deficiency – what to do?
The reason for the low selenium levels is basically a very positive property of selenium:
It binds heavy metals. This is good for the human body because the trace element helps with detoxification and the elimination of toxic deposits.
But the soil on which most of our plant food is grown is also contaminated with heavy metals. The selenium also binds them here.
In this complex form, however, selenium can no longer be absorbed by plants.
This is why a selenium deficiency is so widespread today – even though only minimal amounts of selenium would actually be needed:
120 to 200 mcg/l (micrograms per liter) of selenium in the blood would be optimal. Here in Central Europe, most people only have a level of 80 mcg/l selenium in their blood – if not even less.
If the selenium levels are low, a dietary supplement with selenium should therefore be considered together with the doctor.
But be careful: Please do not overdo it with the dietary supplement. More than 2,000 mcg of selenium per day can already be toxic.
Brazil nuts are also a good source of selenium. They grow wild in regions of South America that are still relatively unpolluted and therefore still have high selenium levels. The daily consumption of about 3 Brazil nuts should already be enough to cover the selenium requirement.