S is for Selenium
Selenium is a trace mineral, which means the body only needs a small amount in order to perform its
essential functions in the body. These include antioxidant protection and general thyroid health.
Selenium is an essential part of a group of 25 proteins called “selenoproteins”. All 25 selenoproteins
work in a variety of ways to protect the body against oxidative stress. They play a key role in the body’s
detoxification system, help the body recycle previously used vitamin C back into its active form, and turn
chemicals like hydrogen peroxide into harmless substances such as water. These are just a few of the
many ways selenium contributes to the body’s defense system.
In addition to its antioxidant power, selenium also plays an important role in thyroid health. The thyroid
gland secretes thyroid hormones, which regulate chemical functions in the body. Thyroid hormones
regulate our heart rate, metabolic rate (the rate we burn calories), digestion, heat production, skin
maintenance, and many more. Selenium is a key component in the enzyme that converts the less active
thyroid hormone (T4) into the more active version (T3). Together, with iodine, selenium maintains the
health of both our thyroid and body overall.
Excellent sources of selenium include:
Seafood such as tuna, shrimp, sardines, salmon, and cod
Cremini and shiitake mushrooms
Very good sources of selenium include: