Minerals Guide – SELENIUM
Selenium RDA: 55 mcg. Selenium is a mineral essential for good health, as it helps protect cells from damage and supports the immune system. While selenium can be found in a variety of foods, some are particularly rich in this vital mineral. Here are the top five selenium-rich foods and how they can benefit your body.
Selenium – The Most Essential Trace Mineral
Named after the Greek Moon Goddess, Selene, the importance of Selenium in human health was only discovered some sixty years ago. Nevertheless, it is now known to be the most important trace element in our diet – underlined by the fact that selenium is the only known trace mineral that is under direct genetic control by its incorporation in the amino acid selenocysteine. Indeed, as little research has been carried out on the workings of other hydrophilic trace minerals, it is no wonder that physicians are mostly ignorant of the necessity of having 75+ pure plant-derived minerals in our diets.
Selenium is coded for by the RNA triplet, UGA (Uracil, Guanine, and Adenine).  During protein formation, UGA acts either as a ‘stop’ signal or as a code to insert the amino acid selenocysteine. How the ribosome protein-building machinery determines which way to translate this codon is unknown.
Selenium and Thyroid Hormones
Selenocysteine is present in at least 25 human proteins, some of which have structural, transport, and antioxidant functions. Selenoenzymes (biochemical catalysts) that have selenocysteine as their active centers include five different glutathione peroxidases that the potent antioxidants and three different iodothyronine deiodinases vital for the interconversion and deactivation of thyroid hormones. So now you know one reason why we should eat selenium-rich foods.
Selenium’s Other Roles
The mineral plays an essential role in growth and immunity. For example, it helps protect against degenerative diseases such as:
Selenium also boosts the action of the liver enzyme called P450, which is involved in detoxifying carcinogens. It also plays a role in the repair of damaged genes. These are other reasons why we should eat selenium-rich foods.
Dangerously Low Selenium Levels in European Foods
Since the Ice Age ended some 10,000 years ago, selenium has leached out of farm soils in many parts of Europe, including Britain. In the past, the UK obtained much wheat from America and Canada but now imports it from Europe due to that treasonous act to join the EU. As a consequence, Britain’s selenium intake nosedived from 1978 to 1994 by 60 mcg per day to a paltry 34 mcg, resulting in a fall of 50 percent selenium in people’s blood.
Increased Cancer Rates
In parts of the world where soil selenium levels are low, cancer rates increase by 200 to 600 percent. People with the least selenium intake are at high risk, especially if vitamin A and E intakes are also low. Selenium has been shown to prevent cancer cell growth in lab rats, and evidence suggests it is involved in triggering programmed cell death (apoptosis) of abnormal cells. Yet another reason why it is wise to source selenium-rich foods. We will come to these later on in this article.
Benefits of Selenium-Rich Foods
Below is a list of the benefits of this vital trace mineral:
The 5 Most Selenium-Rich Foods
By far, Brazil nuts are the richest source of selenium anywhere on the planet. Other sources of selenium are fish, game meats, whole grains, mushrooms, onions, garlic, broccoli, and cabbage.  Although diet should come first, the lack of selenium in our food is a cause of great concern. The mineral content of crops depends on the soils in which they are grown, and we know for a fact that farm soils in Europe are selenium depleted. That is why it is vital to eat sufficient selenium-rich foods to get at least 55 mcg each day. At least our Sizzling Minerals contain enough of the mineral.
Brazil Nuts: The Ultimate Selenium Superfood
The Brazil nut tree, Bertholletia excelsa, is a South American tree commercially harvested for its edible seeds. The tree is one of the largest and longest-lived trees in the Amazon. The nuts are large, containing many micronutrients, especially a high amount of selenium. The wood is used in carpentry, flooring, and construction.
Brazil nuts are the ultimate selenium superfood, as just one nut can provide your entire daily recommended intake of selenium. Brazil nuts, 1 ounce (about seven nuts) contains 544 mg of selenium, so each nut, on average, holds roughly 77 mcg, which is more than the RDA. In addition to their high selenium content, Brazil nuts are a good source of healthy fats, protein, and fiber. As a result, eating Brazil nuts can help to support your immune system, protect against oxidative stress, and even improve thyroid function. However, it’s important to remember that Brazil nuts are also high in calories, so it’s best to enjoy them in moderation as part of a balanced diet.
Why are Brazil Nuts so Selenium-rich?
Pacheco et al. (2007) reported that Brazil nuts concentrate large amounts of selenium because the mineral is chemically similar to sulfur. The element selenium is directly beneath sulfur in the periodic table of elements, so it has the same electronic valency. Sulfur is an essential mineral for producing the amino acids methionine and cysteine in the nuts.
Sulfur is often deficient in Amazonian soils, so the plants there use selenium instead of sulfur, mainly when the soil contains significant amounts of selenium, which it does over there. Most of the selenium in the Brazil nut is in proteins with selenium-containing amino acids, with selenomethionine being the most common. So now you know why Brazil nuts are the best selenium-rich foods.
Seafood: A Delicious Source of Selenium
Seafood is another excellent source of selenium, with many types of fish and shellfish containing high levels of this essential mineral. Tuna, salmon, and sardines are all excellent sources of selenium, as are oysters, clams, and shrimp. Eating seafood regularly can help support your immune system, protect against oxidative stress, and even improve thyroid function. However, it’s important to choose seafood that is sustainably sourced and low in mercury to minimize your exposure to harmful toxins.
Meat and Poultry: Rich in Selenium and Protein
Meat and poultry are excellent sources of protein and are rich in selenium. Chicken, turkey, beef, and pork are great options for increasing your selenium intake. In addition to supporting immune function and protecting against oxidative stress, selenium has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties that can help to reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease. However, it’s important to choose lean cuts of meat and poultry and to limit your intake of processed meats to reduce your risk of other health problems.
The TRC test results on a Sizzling Minerals sample show that each wafer contains 106 mcg of selenium, so there's nearly twice the RDA of 55 mcg in there. Also, this refreshing fizzy drink or veggie capsule contains at least 74 other minerals and trace minerals, which are just as important.
1. NIH Article
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