“Selenium is an essential micronutrient that plays a crucial role in development and a wide variety of physiological processes including effect immune responses. The immune system relies on adequate dietary selenium intake and this nutrient exerts its biological effects mostly through its incorporation into selenoproteins… Dysregulation of these processes may lead to inflammation or immune-related diseases.” (PubMed)
Other Potential Benefits of Selenium
Although you may have never heard of selenium, it is an amazing nutrients that is beneficial to health in so many ways:
- It reduces oxidative stress, which has been linked to chronic conditions like heart disease, cancer, stroke, Alzheimer’s and premature aging.
- It may help to lower the risk of certain type of cancer. A review of 69 clinical studies involving 350,000 people found that a high blood level of selenium was associated with a lower risk of lung, breast, colon and prostate cancers.
- It may protect against heart disease. Analysis of 25 studies showed a 50% increase in blood selenium levels was associated with a 24% reduction in the risk of heart disease.
- It may help to prevent mental decline. Patients with Alzheimer’s disease have lower blood levels of selenium, and antioxidant supplements may improve memory in patients with Alzheimer’s.
- It is important for thyroid health. A study of 6,000 people found that low blood levels of selenium were associated with an increased risk of autoimmune thyroiditis and hypothyroidism.
- It may help to reduce asthma symptoms. A small study showed that asthmatic patients with higher levels of blood selenium had better lung function than those with lower levels.
- It boosts the immune system. Selenium deficiency has been shown to harm immune cell function and may lead to a slower immune response. And selenium supplements may help to strengthen the immune system of people with viral and bacterial infections, such as influenza, tuberculosis and hepatitis C.