Selenium is essential for the human body. He needs the trace element for the immune system and the thyroid gland. But which foods contain selenium, what positive effects does it have on the body, and what happens if there is a selenium deficiency?
Selenium: What is that?
Like iron or zinc, selenium is one of the trace elements and only occurs in small amounts, i.e. in traces. Because the body cannot produce it, selenium is a vital (essential) trace element and must be ingested with food.
What are the positive effects of selenium on the body?
Selenium is the key building block of selenoproteins. These protein compounds are found throughout the body and, as so-called antioxidants, neutralize harmful substances such as peroxides. In addition, selenoproteins can regulate inflammatory reactions in the body, render cells that are no longer functional harmless and maintain muscle function. Selenium is therefore important for a functioning immune system. It is also involved in the production of thyroid hormones and the formation of sperm.
It also has a positive effect on the thyroid gland, where selenium controls the hormone balance.
Selenium: what happens if there is a deficiency?
A selenium deficiency initially manifests itself as muscle weakness, muscle breakdown, and chronic inflammation. If there is still no selenium intake, the so-called Keshan disease occurs, which mostly affects children between the ages of two and seven years and women of childbearing age. The structure of the heart changes over the long term due to the lack of selenium, and the patients suffer from sudden cardiac insufficiency (cardiac insufficiency). In addition, so-called arthrosis can develop, a chronic degenerative joint change with cartilage degradation.