Slow Metabolism? You Might be Low in This Essential Mineral

James Colquhoun JAMES COLQUHOUN

The metabolism feels like one thing that you’ll never quite have control over. It dictates so much; your weight and how you feel about your appearance, the way your body uses different foods, and it can even dictate your energy. But we’ve always been told that we just have to deal with it, that your metabolism isn’t able to fluctuate. The good news is that’s not entirely true. Science now shows that certain foods and other lifestyle factors have the ability to shift your metabolism.

So if you’re struggling with a slow metabolism, you might be low in this essential mineral.

Why does the body need selenium?

One of the most important antioxidants and thyroid nutrients is selenium. This mineral plays a critical role in metabolism and thyroid function and helps protect your body from damage caused by oxidative stress and is considered to be a ‘phytonutrient’. In the body, it is responsible for thyroid hormone metabolism, DNA synthesis, reproduction, and protection from infection. So when your body isn’t getting enough, it can affect you in a cascade of different ways.

What are the common symptoms of low selenium?

Selenium deficiency can cause nonspecific symptoms like fatigue and brain fog. But it also causes serious issues like infertility and may even amplify the effect of certain viruses if you get infected. The severity of symptoms is often influenced by the severity of the deficiency, but these are some of the most common symptoms:

  • Fatigue

  • Hair loss

  • Mental fog

  • Muscle weakness

  • Weakened immune system

  • Infertility in men and women

What foods are good sources of selenium?

The amount of selenium in foods is largely determined by the amount present in the soil, which makes deficiency of this nutrient more common in certain parts of the world. This is also worrying, as selenium deficiency is predicted to rise under climate change due to the loss of this mineral from crop soils. Thankfully, there are selenium-rich foods to support the body.

  • Plant-Based Sources: Brazil nuts, brown rice, sunflower seeds, oatmeal, spinach, lentils, cashews, and bananas.

  • Animal Sources: Fish (sardines and wild-caught salmon), ham, pork, beef, chicken, turkey, cottage cheese, eggs, milk, and yogurt.

Support your selenium uptake with these simple tricks:

  • Brazil nuts are a great source of selenium, just eat two per day to meet the RDI (Recommended Daily Intake).

  • The body retains organic sources of selenium better, so eat some of the best selenium-rich foods rather than supplements! 

  • If you are receiving dialysis, have HIV, or Crohn’s Disease, it can impair selenium uptake. Make sure you work through this with your practitioner

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