Selenium Supplementation May Help with Conception

Nov. 30, 2017; by Briana McDonald, Staff Writer, Silver Bulletin e-News Magazine ( Selenium is needed by all living cells in order to ensure the optimal function of several enzyme systems. Unfortunately the selenium content in our soil is depleted so we may not be getting enough selenium from our diets alone. There are many reasons we should be taking in more selenium through whole food sources and supplementation such as helping regulate thyroid function, improving blood flow and reducing cardiovascular disease, boosting the immune system, and even helping increase fertility. Research has shown us that selenium supplementation may help with conception along with many other things. Lets take a look at the key roles this nutrient plays in our bodies for both men and women’s health. 

Why Is Selenium Important? 
Selenium plays an important protective role in the body because it increases antioxidant capabilities and the quality of blood flow which increases the body’s resistance against stress and disease. Selenium is held in high regard for it’s antioxidant capabilities which lowers free radical damage done to precious DNA and reduces inflammation. By doing this, selenium helps prevent common forms of cancer, fights off viruses, defends against heart disease, and slows down symptoms correlated with other serious conditions such as asthma. (1) 
Symptoms of Selenium Deficiency 
Most of us are walking around with a selenium deficiency and are completely blind to it. If you have some or all of the following symptoms, be sure to have your selenium levels tested.
  • loss of hair
  • discoloration of skin and nails
  • feeling more tired than usual 
  • brain fog
  • thyroid issues – A deficiency in this important nutrient is connected to the thyroid and how it synthesizes the proper hormones.
  • problems getting pregnant 
  • asthma symptoms getting worse (2) 
Suffering from selenium deficiency is correlated with an increased risk of mortality, poor immune function, and cognitive decline. 
Selenium Supplementation May Help with Conception 
For the men and women out there who are having a hard time conceiving it is good to know that Selenium supplementation may help with conception. Selenium is required for proper sperm motility and also increases blood flow which are two key components involved in conception. Some studies also show that selenium may reduce the risk of miscarriage although more research has been dedicated to infertility in men than in women when it comes to selenium supplementation.
However, one study done over an 8 week period that treated women with PCOS with Selenium supplementation showed beneficial effects on reproductive outcomes, DHEA, hs-CRP, and MDA levels. The aim of the study was to dertermine the effects of selenium supplementation on reproductive outcomes, biomarkers of inflammation and oxidative stress in PCOS patients. The present randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled study was conducted on 64 women aged 18-40 years old with polycystic ovary syndrome at the clinic affiliated to Ardabil University of Medical Sciences, Ardabil, Iran.
The participants were randomly assigned to 2 groups receiving either 200 mg selenium daily or placebo for 8 weeks. Hormonal profiles, biomarkers of inflammation, and oxidative stress were measured and compared both before and after the treatment. After 8 weeks of intervention, pregnancy rate in the selenium group was higher than in the placebo group. (3)
Natural Sources of Selenium
Foods that are naturally high in selenium include:
  • brazil nuts 
  • eggs 
  • sunflower seeds 
  • lamb or beef liver 
  • rockfish
  • tuna
  • herring fish
  • chicken breast
  • salmon
  • turkey
  • chia seeds
  • mushrooms 

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