Liver Health and Selenium: Why It Is an Essential Element for Livers

Selenium can pack some big liver health benefits in very small amounts. Having enough in your diet can help you avoid liver disease and much. Learn what you should know about selenium and why it may be your liver’s greatest ally.

6 minute read

Last Updated June 30, 2020

Liver Health and Selenium: Why It Is an Essential Element for Livers | 1MD

Selenium is a trace element found naturally in the soil. In tiny amounts, selenium does more for your health then it does for plant life, though; your body requires trace amounts of selenium to maintain optimal health, specifically liver health.

While it is also used by the kidneys, spleen, testes, and pancreas, researchers are more interested in its benefits to boosting liver health for those suffering from liver disease. And recent research has shed light on some real benefits.

When Selenium Meets Your Liver

Your liver is your central detoxification system responsible for filtering toxins and other harmful substances from your blood. It also makes proteins, produces bile, aids digestion, and stores a reserve of blood sugar.

Exposure to toxins can stress your liver and when overworked, the risk for liver disease increases. Your best defense is to proactively boost liver health.

In small amounts, selenium can have big benefits. However, unpleasant side effects can result from taking too much selenium, so care needs to be taken when consuming selenium-rich foods.

The most common food sources for selenium are:

♦ Brazil nuts

♦ Crab and oysters

♦ Beef and turkey

♦ Wheat

♦ Eggs

♦ Shiitake mushrooms

♦ Sunflower Seeds

To make sure you get enough from your diet, you need to consume different sources, as the content in any one source will vary from time to time. You can also choose a high-quality liver health supplement that is clinically-proven and will give you the trace amounts you need without the risk of toxicity.

Selenium is an antioxidant, which means it scavenges and removes harmful free radicals from the body. These compounds cause oxidative damage to cells and tissues and are prominent in most liver diseases.

Because of the stress the liver can go through, oxidative damage is a real threat, but selenium’s antioxidant properties help to protect it as it works to remove toxins. While it cannot prevent the formation of free radicals, selenium certainly can prevent them from damaging your liver.

In addition to this, selenium has been shown in studies to reverse liver cirrhosis, which was originally thought to be impossible. Therapeutic doses of the trace element were found to not only protect against the development of cirrhosis but actually reverse the condition too.

Your liver has the amazing ability to regenerate. Liver cells can regenerate under the right conditions and selenium makes this possible. By reducing inflammation and oxidative stress, your liver can heal from disease.

Selenium also promotes the healing of tissue and cells as well as improves elasticity, so that healing cells can return to their healthy shape and function.

Small Amounts, Big Outcomes

The protection against oxidative stress is the main way that selenium can protect you from liver disease.

When combined with other active liver ingredients, these effects can be amplified and more effective. For serious liver disease and damage, combining selenium with ALA (alpha-lipoic acid) will be a beneficial move.

ALA also helps to reverse cirrhosis by specifically reducing inflammation and fibrosis of the liver. ALA is fat-soluble so can penetrate deep into your liver cells to heal them from within, while selenium works to protect from outside.

Studies continue to support the benefits of selenium for your liver health and beyond. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory roles protect your heart from heart disease and your brain from Alzheimer’s.

Individuals with inflammatory conditions like asthma and arthritis may also see improvements because the inflammation and oxidative stress that causes pain and damage is dramatically reduced.

Selenium is more than an ally for your liver health; it is an ally for whole-body health.

Despite its benefits, care must be taken to never consume too much selenium. Toxicity is rare but it does happen and can be fatal. The recommended amount is 55 mcg per day and this is easy to do with the right foods.

To be safe and to get the best for your liver, supplements to support liver and kidney function need to have verified amounts of selenium, the best ones will also contain ALA or milk thistle as supporting agents for the selenium. High-quality selenium supplements will deliver the small but powerful dose you need.

There’s nothing more important than a healthy heart, so knowing the best liver repair supplements available, should be a top priority.

The Bottom Line

Checking the selenium content of your groceries could have a major impact on your health. For those with liver disease or concerns about their liver health, it is worth looking into how much selenium you consume.

If you have liver disease or just want better liver health, you can increase your selenium-rich food intake to boost liver health and your overall health.