It is selenium bound to the amino acid methionine. Methionine is an essential protein-making amino acid which usually contains a sulfur molecule. Selenomethionine is the predominant form of selenium in cereals, Brazil nuts, fish, and legumes.
Although all selenium supplements are thought to produce similar effects in the human body, selenomethionine is more easily absorbed than non-organic forms of selenium like selenate.
Organic selenium compounds act on multiple pathways to attack cancer on a variety of different fronts, at many different stages, according to a study done at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Moreover, selenium supplementation has been studied in numerous types of cancer including thyroid, bladder, liver, esophageal, gastric, colorectal, prostate, lung, skin, ovarian, and pancreatic cancer.
Another study done by the National Cancer Institute established that the return of precancerous colon polyps after medical surgery was reduced substantially when the sufferer took antioxidants such as selenium.
Oxidative stress plays a pivotal role in the development of diabetes complications
This, in turn, can cure diabetes-related problems like neuropathy, retinopathy (a diabetes complication that is caused by damage to the blood vessels of the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye), and cataracts.
Selenium has a synergistic effect with other antioxidants such as vitamin E, enabling the human body to defend against the damage of free radicals and to fight oxidative stress.
Free radicals are generated by the body through exposure to different physiochemical conditions, numerous endogenous systems, or pathological states.
Oxidative stress is basically an imbalance between the production of free radicals and the capacity of the human body to detoxify or counteract their negative effects through neutralization by antioxidants.
Asthma is a disease of the lungs that occurs when there is an inflammation and narrowing of the airways. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 31 million people in the United States have asthma.
Studies established that people with asthma may have lower selenium levels compared to people without asthma.
Selenium can reduce clotting of blood and oxidation of cholesterol. Therefore, a healthy intake of selenium can lower the risk of heart disease.
Boosts The Immune System
Along with other minerals, selenium strengthens your response to infections and bolsters the level of white blood cells.
Prevents Selenium Deficiency
According to statistics, around 0.7 billion people worldwide suffer from a deficiency in this essential trace mineral. Furthermore, even more people consume less selenium than is required to provide disease-prevention benefits.
A selenium deficiency can cause the following symptoms:
- mental retardation;
- mental slowing;
- extreme fatigue.
Also, the body becomes more susceptible to illness caused by other biochemical, nutritional, or infectious diseases. More importantly, a selenium deficiency contributes to Kashin-Beck disease, a joint disease which results in degeneration, atrophy, and necrosis of cartilage tissue in the joints.
AD is a progressive disease which destroys memory and other mental functions. According to research, selenium supplements may have a beneficial role in preventing Alzheimer’s disease.
Selenium yeast is a form of supplemental selenium, that is grown in a medium containing inorganic selenium, commonly sodium selenite.
Additional selenium intake may benefit individuals with a low status, however, people with adequate to high statuses of selenium in their bodies should not take selenium supplements as they might be affected negatively and experience toxicity.
From dietary sources, selenium toxicity due to overdose is rare, but an overdose of selenium supplements could have negative effects.
These may include:
- hair loss;
- a metallic taste in the mouth;
- a garlic-like smell of the breath;
- skins rashes and lesions;
- brittle nails;
- decaying teeth;
- neurological abnormalities;
- gastrointestinal problems like nausea.
Studies also revealed that long-term intake of selenium supplements may increase your risk for prostate cancer, skin cancer, and type 2 diabetes.
Moreover, avoid taking selenium supplements without consulting a health care provider if you belong to any of the following groups:
- people at risk for skin cancer;
- people who have had skin cancer;
- people diagnosed with hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid or low thyroid).
Recommended Daily Value
The recommended Daily Value for selenium is 55 mcg a day for adults. During pregnancy, the DV is 60 mcg per day, while for lactating women, the DV is 70 mcg a day.
Bottom Line – Selenomethionine vs Selenium Yeast
Selenomethionine is a highly bioavailable, organic source of selenium that is used in numerous dietary supplements. It exists in two forms: D-selenomethionine and L-selenomethionine. Of these, D-selenomethionine is biologically active. Approximately 90% of selenomethionine is absorbed.
Selenium yeast is a form of selenium which is obtained by fermenting Saccharomyces cerevisiae (the main yeast utilized in biotechnology worldwide). Selenium yeast supplements could potentially cause the build-up of selenium in tissues to toxic levels, according to the European Community Scientific Committee on Food.
In conclusion, all forms of selenium are well absorbed, but the absorption of selenomethionine is better. Also, selenomethionine supplements appear to be safer than selenium yeast.
The best form of selenium is from nutrition. To get the best selenium benefits and ensure intake is sufficient, you should consume foods rich in selenium, like:
- sunflower seeds;
- Brazilian nuts;
- whole grains;
- chia seeds;
- mustard seeds;
- pinto beans;
- garbanzo beans (chickpeas).
More importantly, do not take selenium supplements if you include Brazil nuts in your regular diet as 1 ounce of Brazil nuts contains about 544 mcg of selenium, that is substantially more than you need in a day.
References https://academic.oup.com/jn/article/130/7/1653/4686211 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17696828 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2682996/