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Selenium and Magnesium

Selenium and Magnesium


Disclaimer: This content has been produced purely for informational and educational purposes only and is never intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical guidelines including diagnosis, advice, and treatment.  


Selenium and magnesium are essential minerals necessary for metabolic reactions. They help in the production of hormones necessary for fertility, strength, and athletic performance. A deficiency of these minerals affects hormonal levels and leads to a number of undesirable illnesses such as diabetes, loss of muscle and bone mass, and decreased energy levels.

This article details selenium and magnesium benefits and possible risks or side effects associated with inappropriate consumption.

What is Selenium?

Selenium is a trace mineral which means that the body requires it in a minimal quality. It is naturally present in some foods such as pork, turkey, fish, beef, and eggs and is also available in form of dietary supplements. Selenium is an integral part of several enzymes and proteins that aid in the synthesis of DNA, prevent cellular damage, and regulate the metabolism of thyroid hormones.

Although the thyroid gland has the highest concentration of selenium due to several selenoproteins that support thyroid function, the majority of selenium in the body is kept in muscle tissue.

RDA of Selenium

The recommended daily value of selenium for adults is 55 ug and the dosage is slightly higher in pregnant and lactating women which is 60-70 ug/day.

 Health Benefits of Selenium

Selenium possesses potent antioxidant properties which neutralize the harmful effects of free radicals and reduce the risk of chronic diseases. It helps regulate metabolic reactions and is associated with a number of health benefits.

May Improve Mental Health

Selenium has the potential to boost cognitive function due to its potent antioxidant properties. It also helps prevent neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson's disease, and multiple sclerosis. Studies revealed that the consumption of selenium-rich food helped improve cognition and mental functions.

May Relieve Symptoms of Asthma

Asthma is a chronic illness characterized by irritation and narrowing of airways resulting in symptoms such as chest tightness, shortness of breath, wheezing, and coughing. Research revealed that selenium helps relieve the symptoms of asthma because of its capacity to reduce inflammation. Studies concluded that selenium levels in the blood are lower in patients with asthma. It is also believed that patients with asthma who had greater blood selenium levels had better lung function than those who had lower levels.

Can Improve Thyroid Health

Minerals like selenium are crucial for the proper functioning of the thyroid gland. In fact, thyroid glands have a higher concentration of selenium in the body. This potent mineral plays a critical role in the production of thyroid hormones and assists in protecting the thyroid from oxidative damage. The thyroid gland helps regulate metabolism and affects growth and development and plays a great role in improving overall health.

Selenium deficiency can lead to thyroid disorders like Hashimoto's thyroiditis, a kind of hypothyroidism when the thyroid gland is attacked by the immune system. According to research on 6000 patients, low serum selenium levels were linked to an increased incidence of hypothyroidism and autoimmune thyroiditis.

Can Promote Heart Health

Selenoproteins may have beneficial effects on heart health by reducing the oxidative alteration of lipids or body fats. These proteins have potential to reduce inflammatory reactions and platelet aggregation. According to a study, consumption of selenium resulted in a 24% reduction in the incidence of cardiovascular diseases.

May Boost Immune Health

Selenium possesses potent antioxidant abilities which help fight free radicals, reduce inflammation, and combat infections. Studies revealed that consumption of selenium is associated with enhanced immune response in participants.

In contrast, selenium deficiency can lead to decreased immune health and an increased risk of developing various diseases. This potent mineral is also beneficial in improving immune functions in people suffering from tuberculosis, hepatitis, and influenza.

Foods Rich in Selenium

Selenium content in food varies according to the amount of selenium in the soil in which foods are grown. Some foods such as organ meat, Brazil nuts, and seafood are the highest sources of selenium. While other foods like beef, chicken, fortified cereals, beans, lentils, and whole wheat bread are also rich in selenium.

Possible Risks or Side Effects

Despite several benefits, increased consumption of selenium is associated with certain risks or side effects. Common side effects occurring from high intake of selenium include dizziness, hair loss, muscle stretching, and stomach problems.

Moreover, people may also suffer from early symptoms such as fatigue, metallic taste, skin rashes, irritability, and muscle tenderness.

What is Magnesium?

Magnesium is an essential mineral for the optimal health of the mind and body. Magnesium plays a role in over 300 enzyme processes in the human body which make it a vital element. Magnesium offers a variety of benefits including boosting the immune system, controlling blood pressure, and assisting with muscle and nerve function.

A typical adult's body has about 25 grams (g) of magnesium, of which the skeletal system retains 50–60%. Muscles, soft tissues, and body fluids contain the remainder. Despite the fact that shortage symptoms are uncommon in otherwise healthy persons, many Americans do not get enough magnesium in their diets.

It is necessary for people to reach their daily prescribed levels of magnesium because doctors associate magnesium insufficiency with a number of health issues.

RDA of Magnesium

According to NIH, the recommended daily allowance for adults male is 400 mg and for women is 320 mg. While the RDA for males and females above 31 years is 420 and 320 mg respectively.

Benefits of Magnesium

Magnesium is an essential mineral essential for various body functions and helps prevent several diseases including diabetes, migraine, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Can Strengthen Bones

Magnesium plays a crucial role in regulating the levels of calcium and vitamin D which are essential for bone health. The study revealed that consumption of magnesium resulted in improved bone density and reduced risk of osteoporosis in menopausal women.

Helps in Migraine Headaches

It is believed that magnesium helps in regulating neurotransmitter levels and constrict blood vessels which can relieve headaches and migraine. The research concluded that consuming 600 mg of magnesium citrate resulted in preventing migraine.

Help Relieve Anxiety

Due to magnesium’s ability to regulate brain chemicals, it helps relieve the symptoms of depression and anxiety. Studies showed that the consumption of an appropriate amount of magnesium can help reduce anxiety and elevate mood.

May Reduce PMS Symptoms

Magnesium consumption is associated with reproductive health and helps reduce the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome. A study revealed that magnesium supplements help reduce the symptoms of PMS including mood disorders, irritability, bloating, and breast tenderness.

Can Prevent Diabetes

Magnesium has the potential to regulate blood sugar levels and control insulin metabolism which helps reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. The study revealed that adequate consumption of magnesium supplements can increase insulin sensitivity and help prevent diabetes.

Possible Risks or Side Effects

Magnesium is usually safe to use and is well tolerated by people however, consuming high quantities of magnesium can lead to some adverse effects. Overconsumption of magnesium may lead to some digestive problems such as diarrhea, nausea, and abdominal cramping.

Overconsumption of magnesium also causes low blood pressure, urinary retention, and lethargy.

Magnesium may interact with some drugs such as osteoporosis, diuretics, proton pump inhibitors, and tetracycline antibiotics.

Bottom Line

Selenium and magnesium are essential minerals that help regulate metabolic processes in the body and offer a variety of benefits. They help promote heart, brain, and digestive health, strengthen bones, protect heart health, regulate blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.

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