Selenium Deficiency: Insufficiency Of This Trace Mineral Can Affect Your Health Badly

Chanchal Sengar
Written by: Chanchal SengarPublished at: Nov 28, 2019
Selenium Deficiency: Insufficiency Of This Trace Mineral Can Affect Your Health Badly

Our human body needs certain vitamins and minerals to function properly. Deficiency of any of these vital nutrients would affect the overall health and wellness. Selenium is one such important trace mineral which great properties. It is responsible to manage certain important body functions such as metabolism, thyroid gland, neurological functions, heart processes, enzyme functions, etc. With this, you can assume what its deficiency might cost to your well-being, read the article for more information.

Risk Factors for Selenium Deficiency

  • People who live in areas with selenium levels are low
  • People who get kidney dialysis
  • People who have HIV
Selenium diet

Signs And Symptoms

The initial signs and symptoms of selenium deficiency are:

  • Weakness
  • Muscle aches
  • Anxiety
  • Mental confusion
  • Mood swings

Health problems caused by selenium deficiency

1. Cardiovascular problems

Selenium mineral helps in combating oxidative stress which is linked with heart health. This shows that its deficiency would directly impact the cardiovascular health of the person. A chronic heart disease ‘cardiomyopathy’ was linked with this mineral deficiency. Also, lipid peroxidation may also be caused due to insufficient selenium in the body.

heart problems

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2. Low Immunity

Selenium deficiency weakens the immune system of the person putting him/her to the risk of viral infections and seasonal flu. The affected person becomes prone to illnesses. Dietary selenium is essential to strengthening immunity. It may also lead to damage to immune cells which may aggravate the problem.

On the other hand, this trace mineral regulates the functions of thirty types of selenoproteins which are essential for the endocrine system. 

3. Impacts Brain Health


Selenium deficiency is not only limited to bones and muscles but also the brain. A person with low selenium levels suffers mental health-related problems. Depressed mood, stress, anxiety are some of the common problems. If the condition of selenium deficiency persists for long, this may cause serious damage to the brain causing severe issues like Alzheimer’s.

Also Read: Vitamins And Minerals Deficiency: Types, Causes, And Symptoms

4. Affects Musculoskeletal Functions

Musculoskeletal diseases such as Kashin-Beck disease are caused by the deficiency of this mineral. This causes bones, joints and cartilage deformities which leads to swollen or enlarged joints. It makes movement difficult for the person. The selenoproteins manage muscular functions.

Muscle ache

5. Poor Endocrine System

The endocrine system of the human body regulates hormones secreted by pituitary, thyroid, adrenal glands as well as pancreas, ovaries and testicles. Selenium deficiency would affect the functioning of these glands and further trigger hormonal imbalance. Surprisingly, the thyroid has the highest amount of Selenium amongst other organs. Its deficiency could obstruct multiple processes all at once.

Also Read: Folic Acid Deficiency: Here Are 4 Signs And Symptoms

6. May Affect Reproductive Health

Selenium is an essential mineral for men as it has a very crucial role in testosterone biosynthesis process. In some men, selenium deficiency may even lead to infertility. This might be the case in women too but there is no solid proof of the same. Research needs to be done to find out.

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