Selenium: Health significance

Health significance of selenium

Selenium is a component of important enzymes and helps (in the form of the enzyme glutathione peroxidase) - the body cells in the defense against aggressive metabolites, the so-called free radicals. In this function, it belongs - as the vitamins A, C and E - to the so-called antioxidants. The free oxygen radicals are formed in almost all metabolic processes, can damage the body cells and the genetic material contained therein (DNA) and thereby lead to cancer.


It has been observed that in areas where a selenium-rich diet predominates, cancers and heart attacks are rarer. Therefore, a certain protective effect against cancer and atherosclerosis is discussed. Experimental studies have shown that selenium may prevent cancer. In addition, selenium protects the body from toxic heavy metal compounds (cadmium, lead, arsenic, mercury) and harmful radiation exposure such as UV light or radiation during cancer treatment.

In cancer patients, it has been found that an adequate supply of selenium improves the tolerability of cancer drugs and the side effects of radiotherapy without compromising their effectiveness. Selenium delivery is therefore already a supportive treatment for many tumors. In addition, international studies have shown that selenium can help inhibit tumor formation and growth in the skin, liver, prostate and colon.


Studies show that with inflammatory diseases of the thyroid (Hashimoto's thyroiditis, Graves' disease) the selenium administration improves the general condition and some of the symptoms.

Defenses and immune system

It also has a positive effect on the immune system. Selenium strengthens the body's defenses - especially good in the team with zinc - and the extra dose can support the body in a blood poisoning or HIV disease. Also in patients with autoimmune diseases of the intestine, in rheumatic diseases or allergic asthma, the disease course can be favorably influenced by selenium.

Tip: During the infective winter, the body needs a lot of selenium. To meet this increased demand, the trace element can additionally be used as a dietary supplement, for. B. in the form of selenium yeast (available at the pharmacy) are supplied. If a cold is already on the way, the increased intake can even help to alleviate the symptoms and shorten the course.

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