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Selenium is a trace mineral that is essential for human health. Selenium plays a vital role in the body’s antioxidant defense system, helping to protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. Selenium is also important for maintaining a healthy immune system.

Food sources

Many enzymes in the body that fight free radicals are affected by how much selenium you get in your food. It is found in small amounts in the soil and can also be obtained from certain foods such as nuts, seeds, seafood, and organ meats.

Deficiency and Excess Intake

The risk of developing a selenium deficiency is rare and often only occurs in people who form part of specific risk groups, such as individuals who:

  • Receive kidney dialysis – this removes some selenium from the blood.
  • Have HIV – these individuals may struggle with selenium absorption and may experience excessive loss of selenium through diarrhoea.

If a selenium deficiency does develop, then it may increase your risk for various illnesses as a deficiency will compromise your immune system. A selenium deficiency has been associated with Keshan disease, Kashin-Beck disease, male-infertility and worsening of an iodine deficiency.

The risk for developing selenium toxicity (too much selenium in the body) is higher compared to developing a deficiency. This is because Brazil nuts are very dense in selenium, and if consumed in excess and regularly, it can easily result in toxicity. If selenium toxicity does occur, then it will result in symptoms such as:

  • Garlic breath
  • Metallic taste in the mouth
  • Hair loss
  • Nail loss
  • Brittle nails
  • Skin lesions
  • Skin rash
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhoea
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Teeth discolouration
  • Problems with the nervous system

To find out more about the nutrients that could help improve your immunity, have your ImmuwellgxTM test today!

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