What is Selenium? Everything You Need to Know

Charlotte Miller

Updated on:

What is Selenium

It’s no secret that taking care of your health and wellness is important. We’re told that proper diet, exercise, and nutrition are the most important parts of health, and to a certain extent, this is true. However, there are cases when diet alone doesn’t provide the necessary nutrition your body needs to thrive. 

Selenium is an important nutrient for the body, but it’s not as popular in the health world. Other nutrients tend to overshadow selenium, but there are plenty of reasons to enjoy this nutrient. What is selenium and why is it so important for your body? Let’s take a closer look at what you need to know below. 

Health Benefits of Selenium

Selenium is a mineral that comes from the family of selenoproteins. With 25 brother and sister minerals, this family is responsible for acting as enzymes, catalysts, and antioxidants in the body. Enzymes help break down certain compounds, catalysts help speed up chemical reactions that take place in the body, and antioxidants help fight free radicals to prevent the negative effects of oxidative stress. 

There are plenty of selenium benefits associated with this mineral, including increased thyroid hormone metabolism and antioxidant behavior. Let’s break these down in more detail below. 


As briefly mentioned above, antioxidants are compounds that fight free radicals in the body. Free radicals can arise from stress, pollution, smoke, waste, and other environmental factors. If left unaddressed, free radicals can lead to oxidative stress. Oxidative stress can result in many serious health conditions and have a lot of damage to the body. 

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Thyroid Hormone Metabolism

The thyroid gland needs selenium in order to grow and develop properly. Selenium helps prevent the risk of goiter, grave’s disease, hashimoto’s thyroiditis, and other thyroid hormone deficiencies. This mineral is essential for the proper working of the thyroid. 

Immune Function

The immune system is made up of organs, cells, tissues, and hormones. This system’s job is to protect the body from bacteria, viruses, fungi, and diseases. When a foreign body enters your body, your immune system is responsible for recognizing it and fighting it. Selenium is an excellent mineral for immune support! 

The antioxidant activity also helps support selenium’s immune function. Antioxidants help combat free radicals in the body, detecting oxidative stress and getting rid of it. 

Heart Health

Cardiovascular health is important, and selenium is an excellent mineral in the support for heart health. Selenium may help increase positive compounds to support heart health and decrease inflammation, which is a risk factor for heart issues. 

Liver Health

Selenium is also known for its support for liver health. It helps boost antioxidant defenses in the liver, adding more defenses against harmful particles in this organ. This supports liver health altogether. 

Memory Support

Another benefit of selenium involves the brain. Selenium works to support cognitive function and memory support, especially when related to age. As we get older, our brains can experience normal wear and tear that can result in loss of memory. Selenium is one of the most essential minerals to prevent memory loss and support cognitive function in older age. 

Do You Need Selenium?

Do you need selenium? The answer is yes! Your body needs selenium in order to thrive. However, you only need trace amounts of this mineral in order to stay happy and healthy. Supplementing selenium in your life and diet are great ways to support your health. 

Best Sources of Selenium

The best ways to incorporate selenium into your diet are through the foods you eat and the supplements you take. Let’s break down the best sources of selenium to support your health and wellness. 


Dietary sources of selenium include the following. Fish, seafood, and other types of meat are high in selenium content, along with other enzymes and amino acids. Similarly, rice, whole wheat, potatoes, and eggs are high in selenium. 

Various factors affect how much selenium is in a given food. For instance, where the food is grown can determine how much  selenium content there is. How a food is processed can also decrease its content of selenium. If a food is processed with high heat and extreme pressures, the nutrient content is likely less than organic foods that haven’t been processed. 


You can also get the selenium you need through supplements. Diet alone doesn’t always cut it when it comes to getting the wide range of nutrients your body needs. This is where supplements come in handy. Supplements are easy, hassle-free ways to give your body the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients you need to thrive. 

Be sure to only take the recommended amount of selenium to avoid taking too much and risking toxicity. Including selenium in your daily supplement regimen is the best way to add this mineral into your life. 

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