Interesting facts about selenium

immunsystem selen spurenelement

Interessante Fakten über Selen

Team Vitamineule

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One. What is selenium?

Selenium is an essential trace element. It is found in all body cells and is essential for the human organism. The body cannot produce selenium itself, so it must be ingested daily in sufficient quantities through diet. The selenium content in plant foods always depends on the nutrient composition of the soil. The soils in Europe are rather poor in selenium. Therefore, animal foods are the better sources of selenium in Europe. Selenium is of essential importance as it enhances immune defence, protects the human organism from free radicals and plays an important role in maintaining a healthy metabolism. The trace element was discovered in the 18th century by the chemist Jöns Jakob. Selenium is a semi-precious metal and is found in organic and inorganic compounds. Since the proof of its vital necessity in 1957, knowledge of the importance of this essential trace element for human and animal health has been growing.

2. the functions of selenium for the human body

Selenium is of essential importance for the thyroid gland and the immune system of the human organism. One often has a weakened immune system when free radicals damage the immune cells. These can trigger chronic diseases and inflammations. As an antioxidant, selenium tries to protect the body's own cells from free radicals. Besides the brain, the thyroid gland is the most selenium-rich organ in the human body. Besides iodine, it needs a great deal of the mineral selenium in order to fulfil all its functions. A sufficient selenium supply is the decisive factor for the optimal function of the thyroid gland. A lack of selenium can lead to disorders of the thyroid metabolism and increase susceptibility to thyroid disease. Thyroid hormones are involved in numerous metabolic processes that influence fat, sugar and protein metabolism as well as areas of the energy balance. In addition, the thyroid hormone T3 (triiodothyronine) increases heart rate and blood pressure, strengthens bone substance and promotes the growth of hair and nails. It is also responsible for regulating the body's heat balance. Triiodothyronine promotes hormone release in other organs, such as the kidneys and pancreas. Especially in children, the thyroid hormone T3 is very important because it is essential for brain development and growth. Antioxidant enzymes, which are found in high quantities in the thyroid gland, protect the tissue from damage caused by free radicals. Selenium plays an important role in DNA synthesis, cell division and cell growth. With its immunostimulating effect, selenium not only protects against many infections, but selenium also helps detoxify heavy metals.

Essential tasks of selenium in brief:

  • Participation in muscle metabolism
  • normal function of the thyroid gland
  • Prevention of infertility
  • Support of the detoxification of the body
  • Regulation of the heat balance
  • Protection against free radicals
  • Slowing down the ageing process
  • Regulation of the immune system

3. the effect of selenium

Selenium has a versatile effect on the human body. The trace element forms important proteins and is a component of important enzymes in the human body. These strengthen the immune system and prevent cell damage. They protect the body from free radicals. The function of vitamin E and vitamin C as defence vitamins is strengthened. Selenium is able to produce thyroid hormones. This stimulates sperm production and maintains the nervous system. Together with vitamin E, selenium acts synergistically. This means that, in combination, they additionally boost the body's defences. Therefore, these two substances can also be taken together for supplementation. With its effect, selenium increases physical well-being and vitality. It has a protective effect on heart and vascular diseases. Selenium rejuvenates the tissues through good skin elasticity. Selenium can help very well with hot flushes during the menopause.

4. the right dosage & daily requirement of selenium

Men need more selenium than women. According to the German Society for Nutrition (DGE), an adult man should consume 70 micrograms of selenium per day. For women it is 60 micrograms. Breastfeeding mothers have an increased need in order to supply their babies with sufficient selenium from their breast milk. The recommended amount here is 75 micrograms of selenium. Children under 10 years of age should take in about 30 micrograms of selenium a day. For children between 10 and 15 years of age, the daily requirement is already 50 micrograms of selenium. However, these recommended values do not apply to people with an increased selenium requirement due to illness. In general, one should always bear in mind that age, weight and height always play an important role.

5. storage of selenium

Selenium is absorbed in the upper small intestine. This is where most of the selenium intake takes place. During this process, selenium enters the blood to supply the tissue and is used in the liver to build protein. These are secreted in the bloodstream and the trace element is transported further to the brain, kidney and tissue. About 60% of the selenium is found in the blood plasma. It is always important to know that half of the selenium is bound to protein. The total amount of selenium in an adult person is about 10-20 mg. This is found in tissues and organs. The distribution is very uneven. Most concentrations are in the thyroid, brain, pancreas, heart and spleen.

6. For whom is selenium particularly important?

Selenium is an essential trace element. It is important to everyone because it is responsible for many tasks in the human body. Since humans cannot produce it themselves, it should be supplied daily with food. If this is not enough, taking selenium in the form of food supplements can be very useful. Taking selenium is especially important for nursing mothers, as they must also supply their child with the trace element via breast milk. As selenium is particularly important for the formation of sperm and thus for male fertility, men who have problems having children should definitely have their selenium levels tested.

7. possible overdose of selenium?

When taking selenium in the form of dietary supplements, one should always pay attention to the correct dosage. Recommended doses (daily dosage) should never be exceeded. Excessive amounts of nutrients can have an unfavourable effect on the human organism. An extreme overdose of selenium is quickly shown by a garlic-like breath smell. In addition, gastrointestinal disturbances and growth disorders of hair and nails may be a side effect of the overdose. Other common complaints are vomiting, nausea and diarrhoea. Another acute symptom may be disturbed nail formation. Permanently too high amounts of the trace element can cause serious side effects. This is called selenosis.

8. side effects of selenium

Those who cannot manage to absorb selenium sufficiently can take selenium in the form of food supplements. These are available in the form of selenium tablets and selenium capsules. One should always pay attention to the recommended amount and not exceed it. It is also important that the product was produced in Germany and contains no additives. Whoever pays attention to this cannot do anything wrong. So far, no side effects are known when taking selenium.

9 How can a selenium deficiency occur?

Selenium is assigned to the essential trace elements, which should normally be supplied to the human organism regularly in small amounts. The body cannot produce selenium itself. If too little selenium is supplied to the body in the long term, a selenium deficiency can occur. As a result, the body no longer has an adequate supply of selenium. This can lead to numerous deficiency symptoms. Selenium deficiency is often caused by an insufficient or one-sided dietary habit. A vegan lifestyle can greatly promote a selenium deficiency, as this substance is only present in increased quantities in animal products. In addition, chronic digestive disorders (such as Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis) can impair the supply of selenium. Diseases such as cystic fibrosis or renal insufficiency can also lead to the ingested selenium not being properly utilised. The elderly, alcoholics and people suffering from bulimia are particularly at risk. Vegetarians and vegans are on average worse supplied with selenium than people who use animal products.

10. symptoms & consequences of a selenium deficiency

There are numerous symptoms that can indicate a selenium deficiency. Often one does not even think of a selenium deficiency. If you have a constant cold, who thinks that it could be due to a lack of this trace element? Due to the wide range of functions of the trace element, it is difficult to differentiate the symptoms from other deficiencies. In general, the function of the immune system often diminishes somewhat, your own body is weakened and you get sick more quickly. In children, the deficiency can block growth to a certain extent. Frequent infections and malaise very often coincide with a selenium deficiency.

A lack of the trace element selenium can lead to numerous deficiency symptoms:

  • Hair Loss
  • Liver disorders
  • Increased fatigue
  • flaky and pale skin
  • muscle weakness, joint problems
  • Nail changes
  • Concentration difficulties
  • Increased susceptibility to infection
  • Impaired fertility in men

11. selenium deficiency - risk groups

People from the following groups are often exposed to selenium deficiency:

  • Vegetarians and vegans
  • Alcoholics
  • Smokers
  • People with intestinal diseases
  • Breastfeeding women
  • Dialysis Patients

12. what causes can a selenium deficiency have?

The causes of a lack of selenium can be very different. Insufficient intake of the trace element can have a negative effect on health. If the food is taken from soils low in selenium, the body often cannot be supplied with sufficient amounts of selenium. Many people therefore suffer from an undersupply of selenium, as in many countries the element is no longer sufficiently absorbed. The average content of the diet is far from the recommended intake of the element. Those affected are also people who have a poor diet or who have an excessive selenium requirement for various reasons. In general, people with cancer, smokers or people with kidney disease need a higher amount of selenium. Furthermore, the human organism needs more selenium when the immune system is weakened, as the trace element takes over important functions of the immune defence.

A selenium deficiency can be so dangerous because selenium is a component of at least 25 different proteins that the human body absolutely needs. Selenium is practically indispensable for the organism. Selenium ensures the healthy functioning of numerous organs and is therefore essential for life.

13 Selenium and the thyroid gland

Many people know that the thyroid gland cannot function properly if it lacks iodine. What is less well known is that the thyroid gland in the human body also needs selenium to function properly. Selenium is therefore indispensable for its function. The thyroid gland is the most selenium-rich organ in the human body. Only with the help of the trace element can the thyroid hormone thyroxine (T4) be converted into its correct form (triiodothyronine). The thyroid hormone controls many metabolic processes. It also increases heart rate and blood pressure, strengthens bone substance and promotes the growth of hair and nails. It takes care of muscle function, the basal metabolic rate, the psyche and reproductive ability. In addition, it causes other hormone releases in other organs such as the pancreas. In the thyroid gland there are still high amounts of enzymes which are dependent on selenium. These enzymes protect the tissue from free radicals which can be produced during hormone production. Selenium thus contributes to the normal functioning of the thyroid gland in the human body.

14 How can I absorb selenium through food?

Selenium is mainly found in solid food - in drinking water or other beverages it is only found in very small amounts. Selenium is found in plant and animal products. However, selenium is found mainly in animal foods. However, there are plants that contain particularly high levels of selenium. These are e.g. Brazil nut trees. White cabbage, onion vegetables, pulses, mushrooms, asparagus and lentils are particularly rich in selenium. The content of vegetable foods can vary greatly depending on the growing area, as the selenium content depends on the soil. In Europe, for example, soils are less rich in selenium than soils in the USA. Selenium is found in higher concentrations in meat, eggs and especially marine animals.

Selenium-rich foods are: (micrograms per 100 grams)

  • Brazil nuts approx. 1900
  • Coconut approx. 1800
  • Lamb meat approx. 200
  • Wheat bran approx. 100
  • Tuna approx. 80
  • Sunflower seeds approx. 80
  • Salmon approx. 40
  • Potatoes approx. 30
  • Champinions approx. 26
  • Egg approx. 20
  • Brussels sprouts approx. 18
  • Hard cheese approx. 15
  • White beans approx. 14
  • Emmentaler approx. 10
  • Rice approx. 9
  • Asparagus approx. 6

15. the correct intake of selenium

Those who would like to take selenium in the form of food supplements can choose between selenium capsules and selenium tablets. These should be taken with sufficient liquid (for example, water or juice). It does not matter whether selenium is taken before or after a meal. However, if you have a sensitive stomach and cannot take selenium tablets or selenium capsules on an empty stomach, you should eat something first and then take the food supplements.

16 What is the function of selenium capsules?


... helps to maintain normal hair

... contributes to the preservation of normal nails

... contributes to normal thyroid function

... helps protect cells from oxidative stress

... contributes to a normal function of the immune system (physical defence)

... contributes to normal sperm formation (formation of sperm cells)

17. what is contained in selenium capsules?

Many food supplements with selenium from the pharmacy or drugstore contain artificial additives such as microcrystalline cellulose or magnesium stearate. Selenium capsules, on the other hand, contain pure sodium selenite pentahydrate and vegetable rice flour. The capsule shell consists of vegetable cellulose. This means that the capsule shell contains only the actual active ingredient. Capsules are easy to take and quickly release their active ingredient.

18 Which is better: selenium capsules or selenium tablets?

Selenium tablets, which are sold in bulk in pharmacies and drugstores, often contain cheap active ingredients and many chemical additives. A variety of fillers and pressing aids are often used to keep the tablet in shape. We recommend that you buy selenium capsules without additives, as the mostly vegetable capsule shells can hold the active ingredient together without artificial additives. Capsules are also generally the most common dosage form. They are easy to handle, are easy to swallow and can release their active ingredient in the stomach very quickly.

Selen Kapseln von Vitamineule

Our recommendation:
Vitamineule® Selenium Capsules

In our online shop you will find our selenium capsules from Vitamineule®, which are completely free of artificial additives. Vitamin Owl® Selenium contain 200mg pure selenium from sodium selenite pentahydrate per capsule. Each can contains 90 capsules. In addition to fast & free shipping, we offer a voluntary six-month return guarantee for all products.

19. How can the doctor diagnose a selenium deficiency?

A selenium deficiency means that the human body does not have enough selenium available. A deficiency of this trace element is one of the most common deficiencies worldwide. If you would like to know whether you suffer from a selenium deficiency, it is best to have this checked by your family doctor. The doctor will be able to make an initial assumption based on the symptoms and medical history. The selenium content is measured by the blood plasma. If you suspect that you have a selenium deficiency, you should tell your doctor about the exact symptoms and complaints to make sure that they are actually due to a low selenium level. However, we recommend several tests, as a single test is only a snapshot of your selenium level. Together with the patient, the physician will discuss the appropriate therapy measure. It is often recommended that patients take selenium in the form of dietary supplements to replenish their selenium stores and prevent a recurrence of the deficiency. The physician will also generally advise the patient to eat more selenium-rich food and avoid stimulants as much as possible. It is also very good to do sports, for example in the fresh air. Anyone who takes a lot of exercise outdoors activates the immune system and will be able to regulate their metabolism. This way, susceptibility to infections can also be combated very well. In general, however, you should be patient. If, for example, the hair was affected by a selenium deficiency, it takes time for the damage to be repaired and for it to grow back.

20. conclusion

Selenium is an important trace element. It is necessary for the proper functioning of organisms in the human body. It is involved in cell protection, detoxification of the body and regulation of the immune system. Selenium causes selenium protein synthesis, which is essential for the defence mechanism. As an essential micronutrient, selenium is indispensable for the body. One of the most important tasks is to maintain normal thyroid gland function. Further tasks are the regulation of the immune system, the support of detoxification of the body and the participation in muscle metabolism. The German Society for Nutrition (DGE) recommends 70 micrograms of selenium per day for an adult man. For women the daily amount is 60 micrograms. Breastfeeding mothers have an increased requirement in order to supply their baby sufficiently via breast milk. The supply of selenium is not optimal in Germany. The amount of selenium in plant products always depends on the soil. This can therefore vary greatly. The soils in Europe with plant-based foods are rather poor in selenium. Therefore, animal foods are the better selenium sources in Europe. Thus, vegans and vegetarians often find it very difficult to consume sufficient amounts of selenium. Often selenium is then additionally taken in the form of food supplements. If too little selenium is supplied to the body in the long term, a selenium deficiency can occur. As a result, the body no longer has an adequate supply of selenium. Often a poor diet, poor nutrition or chronic diseases are the trigger for a deficiency of this trace element. Vegetarians and vegans are on average worse supplied with selenium than people who use animal products. A selenium deficiency is manifested by various symptoms. The best-known symptoms are hair loss, increased fatigue, concentration difficulties and an increased susceptibility to infections. In order to counteract a selenium deficiency, one should always make sure that selenium is absorbed through food. A large amount of selenium is found mainly in white cabbage, onion vegetables, pulses, mushrooms, asparagus and lentils.

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