They may not be macronutrients, but vitamins and minerals are surely essential nutrients you should be paying attention to. From all the available vitamins and minerals, in this article we focus on explaining why you should check up your Zinc and Selenium intake.
Role of antioxidants in the body
Vitamins and minerals take a role in plenty of functions of the body. These functions include keeping your immune system on point and making sure your body is ready to perform your daily activities, whether it is a long day at work or an intensive workout. Even for a day lying on the couch, vitamins and minerals are involved in many basic functions for your body to work properly.
One of their more important roles is to fight free radicals. Free radicals are unstable atoms that cause damage to the cells and cause, either diseases and illnesses, or simple deterioration, accelerating aging with it. The body produces free radicals naturally, but bad habits can accelerate their production such as: smoking, alcohol, fried foods, lack of sleep, toxic chemicals, etc. With time, the body also gradually loses ability to fight these free radicals, resulting in more oxidative stress for the cells, more damage, and what we normally consider as “normal” aging with signs as, muscular deterioration, wrinkles and the regular pains here and there, not to mention the different diseases that can incur.
That is when antioxidants come to play; these are molecules that fight the free radicals in the body by neutralizing them and their effect on the cells. Just like the body produces free radicals, it also produces antioxidants and these can be further supported through external sources such as food and nutritional supplements. Whole foods from plant and animal origin provide nutrients such as vitamin C and E, and the minerals copper, zinc and selenium; which are important antioxidants for the body.
Best antioxidant vitamins and their natural sources
The best antioxidants are vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, selenium and beta-carotene (or other carotenoids).
Vitamin C: Among the best sources of vitamin C we find broccoli, cantaloupe, cauliflower, kale, kiwi, orange, papaya, pepper (red, green or yellow), sweet potato, strawberries and tomatoes.
Vitamin E: Almonds, corn oil, cod-liver oil, hazelnuts, lobster, peanut butter, safflower oil, salmon steak and sunflower seeds, are foods with a great contribution to your vitamin E needs.
Zinc: Oysters provide more zinc per serving than any other food, but those are rarely included in an every-day diet, so red meat and poultry are excellent sources of zinc for everyone. In addition, beans, nuts, seafood like crab and lobster, whole grains and fortified cereals, and dairy products can also be added to the list as great sources of zinc.
Selenium: Brazil nuts are one of the best sources of selenium, next to fish, ham, enriched foods (pasta, whole wheat breads or whole grain cereals), pork, beef, turkey, chicken, cottage eggs, brown rice, sunflower seeds, baked beans, mushrooms, oatmeal, spinach, milk and yogurt, lentils, cashews and bananas.
Beta-carotene and other carotenoids: Good sources of beta-carotene include carrots, sweet potatoes, winter squash, broccoli, spinach, kale and fruits like cantaloupe or apricots. It is also found in herbs and spices such as paprika, cayenne pepper, chili, parsley, marjoram, sage and coriander.
Best Zinc and Selenium supplements from BioTechUSA
On one side, Multivitamin For Women supplies balanced nutrition with emphasis on antioxidants, vitamins and minerals to supplement a healthy diet specially designed for women. On the other, Multivitamin for Men supplies balanced nutrition with emphasis on key amino acids, antioxidants of fruit and vegetable extracts as well as a variety of B vitamins to supplement a healthy diet specially designed for men.
Multivitamin For Women contains 15 mg of zinc and 200 µg of selenium, while Multivitamin for Men contains 25 mg of zinc and 200 µg of selenium.
This premium quality vitamin blend contains 12 types of vitamins, including a range of beneficial B vitamins, as well as 10 minerals. One-A-Day can be taken from the age of 12 and can be consumed during pregnancy and lactation. This product is free of gluten or lactose.
One tablet of One-A-Day contains 15 mg of zinc and 10 µg of selenium.
Chelate is a chemical bond, which is becoming more and more popular, because it is a very precious novelty enabling very good absorption. 1 tablet of Zinc + Chelate contains 25 mg of zinc.
How do Zinc and Selenium affect immune function?
Zinc and selenium work great together, working with what is known in biology as a synergistic effect. The synergistic effect is when the interaction between chemical substances cause an effect that is greater than the sum of the individual effect of any of the substances.
First, zinc promotes immunity through direct, indirect and antioxidants mechanisms, as it is crucial for the development and correct functioning of cells that are responsible for the body’s immunity such as macrophages, large cells found in the tissues or as white blood cells when an infection occurs. When you are in deficiency of zinc, your body isn’t able to produce healthy new cells, leading to a lower immune system thanks to a lower amount of cells fighting viruses and infections. Additionally, zinc deficiency not only compromises immunity but also shifts the immune system towards an inflammatory state.
Then we have selenium, which works as an important antioxidant in the body, reducing inflammation and enhancing immunity, and it also prevents the mutation of viruses and the appearance and new high-pathogenic strains. Although a selenium deficiency is rare and mostly seen on patients over 60 years old, it is important to make sure to get a proper intake and that the body correctly absorbs it if you don’t want to lose the immune benefits of it.
The deficiency of zinc or selenium can cause hair loss, tiredness, fatigue, weight gain, shortness of breath, and higher risk of cancer, respiratory problems and getting sick from every day viruses and infections.
Supplementation of these two minerals is highly recommended, specially taken together as they boost each other’s effect and with it, boost also the immune system, reducing the risk of deceases and infections, and also the risk of complications in case you get sick.