Ahhh Pearl’s favorite mineral! Though this guy is only needed in small amounts it packs an enormous punch in the body. Selenium’s primary role is as a component of the enzyme glutathione peroxidase.
Pearl say whaaaaaaaat?
Don’t worry, I’m not going to get super geeky here. Glutathione peroxidase (GPX) is an antioxidant that our body naturally produces. Our immune cells (specifically the leukocytes and macrophages) produce oxidative molecules when they are destroying foreign things in our body. This is a totally normal thing, but these byproducts must be stopped before they cause damage! This is where GPX comes into play and protects these cells from destruction. It also protects the sensitive unsaturated fats that make up our cell membranes from the damage of free radicals. Considering free radicals are implicated in the aging process I’d say it’s pretty important to keep them at bay!
Guess what else it does? It helps to break up blood clots. Normally, we need our blood to be able to clot in case we get a cut or scrape but it isn’t good when you blood is clotting in your arteries and contributing to heart disease. So, individuals who have cardiovascular disease already should definitely make sure they are getting sufficient dietary sources of selenium.
Selenium is a component of another molecule, iodothyronine deiodinase. I won’t geek out on this one either. This guy converts T4 to T3. T3 is the active thyroid hormone and super important for your energy levels not to mention your overall health. Selenium compounds are also being studied for their chemopreventative and anticarciongenic properties.
It is possible to build up a toxicity of selenium and long-term supplementation of this micronutrient has been show to harmful, so get it from real food! You need about 55 micrograms per day and can find our friend selenium in seafood like tuna, shrimp, sardines, snapper, halibut, salmon, scallops, clams, and oysters, beef, turkey, chicken, lamb, eggs, milk, brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, asparagus, mushrooms, brown rice, and even blackstrap molasses! Obviously grass fed, free range, and wild caught products here my friends.
Stay classy (and full of antioxidants!)