The Benefits Of Selenium And Zinc Minerals

31 January 2020

Every month Health Bunker will cover at least one essential nutrient, and today we will be writing about two, Selenium and Zinc. For those that don’t know, a nutrient is;
‘A substance that provides nourishment essential for the maintenance of life’.

Vitamins, Minerals, Amino Acids (proteins) and Fatty Acids (Omega 3,6,9) make up the 40 or so essential nutrients we require to function normally. Humans need these essential nutrients to live healthy lives, without them we run the risk of disease.

Health Bunker will show how deficiencies of zinc and selenium affect our; immune systems, cardiovascular systems, and increase free radical damage. We will show you why Zinc and Selenium supplements are important in the modern world we live in.

Most adults here in the UK, the United States and around the world are deficient in at least one essential nutrient.
I have mentioned in a few previous articles that modern industrial agriculture has over-farmed the land, which decreases the nutrient values. The crops are sprayed with pesticides and fertilizers. These industrial chemicals reduce the friendly bacteria and in turn reduce the nutrient content.

Also, most of the food we eat is heavily processed, and by the time we get around to cooking the food, it is very low on nutrient values. These levels are lowered even further when we finally cook the food. Boiling, roasting, and frying all reduce nutrients, and microwave cooking basically destroys it.

This means by the time we eat there is next to nothing from a nutrition point of view left for us to eat. If we look at each essential nutrient and drill a little deeper to discover what the deficiencies are for each we will uncover an increased risk of; heart disease, kidney failure, decreased thyroid function, prostate cancer, and other cancers, diabetes, obesity, etc. In fact all of the modern-day disease that blight us all today.

So, to increase the amounts of nutrients and reduce the risk of disease, should we be taking a good source of supplementation? With this in mind, in today’s article we will cover;

  • Foods that contain zinc and selenium.
  • The health benefits of zinc and selenium

What is Selenium and Zinc Good For?

Selenium and Zinc rich food, Salmon

Selenium (Se) Health Benefits

Some of you probably have never heard of Selenium up until reading this post. Selenium is an amazing essential nutrient vital for our health and wellbeing. Selenium is obtained through our diets, but it’s only needed in small amounts.
However, it plays a key role in many processes in our body, including metabolism. Selenium deficiency also plays a part in thyroid functions (along with iodine deficiency).


  • Selenium is an Antioxidant
    Antioxidants prevent damage to cells caused by ‘free radicals’. Selenium deficiencies will leave us wide open to many different diseases. Free radicals are essential and play an important role in keeping us free from disease. But too many free radicals from things like smoking, alcohol, chemicals, stress and any other environmental toxins leads to excess. Leading to ‘oxidative stress’ which then damages healthy cells.
    Oxidative stress is linked to heart disease, Alzheimers and cancer, premature aging, and increased risk of strokes.
  • Selenium May Reduce Risk of Certain Cancers
    Higher Selenium concentrations in our blood could protect against cancer. Selenium supplements can improve the quality of life for people undergoing radiation therapy.
  • Prevents Mental Decline
    In the UK Alzheimers claims the lives of over 67,000 people every year or 12.7% of all deaths, making it the largest cause of death. Oxidative stress is believed to be a factor involved in the onset and progression of neurological diseases like Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis and Alzheimers. Several studies have shown that Alzheimer’s sufferers have lower amounts of selenium in their blood. One small study found that supplementing with just 1 selenium-rich Brazil Nut per day improved verbal fluency as well as other mental functions.
  • Heart disease
    In 25 observational studies that were analyzed, people with a 50% increase in the selenium were 24% less likely to get heart disease. Selenium may also lower inflammation. Inflammation is one of the main warnings of heart disease. A review of 16 controlled studies, adding up to over 433,000 people, showed that taking a selenium supplement could possibly decrease C-reactive protein (CRP). CRP is an inflammation marker.
  • Selenium is important for Thyroid Health
    Our thyroid hormones to regulate metabolism and control development and growth. Observational studies, one including 6000 people showed that low amounts of selenium were associated with an increased risk of, autoimmune thyroiditis and hypothyroidism. Another study found that taking selenium supplements for 3 months resulted in lower thyroid antibodies, which led to improvements in mood and well-being for those with Hashimoto’s disease.
  • Selenium and Our Immune System
    Our immune system keeps our body healthy. Selenium is an important part of our immune functions by reducing oxidative stress and improved immune response. Selenium supplements may help to strengthen the immune system in people with Influenza, Tuberculosis, and Hepatitis C.People with HIV also noticed a slow down of symptoms studies have shown. While selenium deficiency increases the risk of death and disease progression.
  • The reduction of Asthma Symptoms
    Asthma affects about 235 million people globally. Airways become inflamed and narrow, causing symptoms like wheezing, shortness of breath and coughing. Because selenium has been shown to reduce inflammation and Asthma is associated with oxidative stress, studies suggest that selenium may help lower asthma symptoms. Higher blood levels of selenium in different studies found better lung function and reduced use of corticosteroid drugs, with supplementation of 200mcg per day.

Selenium Summary

Selenium in plant-based foods is dependent on the soil where they are farmed and likewise animal-based food. Here’s a list of selenium-rich foods.
Brazil Nuts, Yellowfin Tuna, Ham, Pork, Beef, Turkey, Chicken, and Mushrooms.

Selenium Deficiency Symptoms;

  • Infertility in men and women
  • Muscle weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Mental fog
  • Hair loss
  • Weakened immune system
  • Heart disease
  • Arthritis
  • Inflammation
  • Thyroid dysfunction
  • Other mineral deficiencies
  • Muscle Pain
  • Elevated Iron Serum

Different Selenium Supplementation and their Health Benefits

We normally ingest selenium from a variety of plants and animals in several different forms. Each type has its own distinct role to play in our health. Evidence supports selenium’s anticancer activity.

Selenium is a catalyst to key antioxidant enzymes called ‘selenoproteins’. These recycle important antioxidants like Glutathione, in turn, it reduces premature aging and chronic disease.

Studies have shown that populations with low selenium levels run the risk of serious disease. In a specific meta-analysis study, they investigated the preventative effects of selenium supplements alone on cancer prevention. Their findings indicated that there is possible evidence to support the use of selenium supplements alone for cancer prevention.

The 3 Forms of Selenium Required for Cancer Prevention

Sodium Selenite,  L-selenomethionine, Selenium-Methyl L-selenocysteine

What is the Importance of Zinc (Zn) In Our Body?

Zinc is a trace mineral, and it is an essential requirement to keep our immune system healthy. If we lack Zinc we will be more susceptible to illness and disease. Of all the trace minerals Zinc comes second on the list to iron in its concentration in the body.

How Important is Zinc?

Zinc has many different functions in the body. It is needed for; our immune system, to breakdown carbohydrates, cell division, wound healing, taste and smell, cell growth, and during pregnancy. Here’s a list of ‘Zinc Benefits’;

  • Zinc Regulates Immune Function
    According to the ‘European Journal of Immunology’, humans need zinc because it activates T lymphocytes (T cells). T cells help us by controlling immune responses and attacking infected or cancerous cells. Zinc deficiency will impair our immune systems.
    A study published by the ‘American Journal of Clinical Nutrition’ said;
    ‘Zinc-deficient persons experience increased susceptibility to a variety of pathogens’
  • Zinc Deficiency and Diarrhea
    Diarrhea kills over 500,000 children under the age of 5 every year, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). A study by PLOS in India found that;
    Following a nationwide public health campaign to increase zinc use for childhood diarrhea in Bangladesh,” they confirmed that a 10-day course of zinc tablets is effective at treating diarrhea and also helps prevent future bouts of the condition’.
  • Memory and Learning
    The University of Toronto published findings of their study in the journal ‘Neuron’. It stated that Zinc plays a role in controlling how neurons talk to each other and affects how memories are formed and how fast we learn.
  • The Common Cold
    Zinc supplements were found to shorten the common cold by up to 40% in a study in the Open Respiratory Medicine Journal. Taking zinc supplements was also found to be beneficial in reducing the severity and duration of colds when taken within 24 hours of the symptoms starting.
  • Wound Healing Benefits
    A Sweedish study found that Zinc helps in wound healing. Topical zinc may stimulate ulcer healing by decreasing inflammation. Zinc plays an important role in skin structure. Zinc is often used in skin creams for treating irritations.
  • Age-Related Disease
    Oregon State University researchers found that increasing zinc through supplementation reduced the risk of inflammation. Zinc deficiency has been linked to inflammation which in turn is a sign of chronic disease.
  • Vision
    The Archives of Ophthalmology published a study about the benefits of Zinc reducing age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
  • Fertility
    Low zinc has been linked with low sperm counts and quality. One study in the Netherlands found people had a higher sperm count after taking Zinc and Folic Acid supplements.
  • Other Zinc Studies found improvements in;
    Acne (treatment showed promising results using Zinc Sulfate)
    Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
    Pneumonia (prevention and treatment)

Symptoms of Zinc Deficiency

Zinc deficiency is normally due to low dietary intake. It could also be due to malabsorption and chronic illness such as diabetes, cancer, liver disease, sickle cell disease, digestive conditions or infections like Lyme disease.

Zinc deficiency signs include:

  • Low immunity
  • Poor memory
  • Sinus Problems
  • Loss of Labido
  • Breast and Prostate Cancer
  • Loss of appetite
  • Anemia
  • Slow wound healing
  • Abnormal taste and smell
  • Depressed growth
  • Altered cognition
  • Depression (more research needed)
  • Diarrhea
  • Hair loss
  • Skin, nails, and hair. Zinc deficiency may manifest as acne, eczema, xerosis (dry, scaling skin), seborrheic dermatitis, or alopecia (thin and sparse hair)
  • Mouth
  • Vision, smell, and taste
  • Immune system
  • Diarrhea
  • Appetite

Zinc Supplementation Types
Zinc Picolinate supplements are absorbed better than any other type. Nutrient IV drips or vitamin and Mineral drips are also useful as zinc can be added directly to the bloodstream

Zinc Orotate
Zinc orotate is a type of zinc that has been chelated to orotic acid. This form of zinc has been suggested to easily pass across the cell membranes within the gut, increasing absorption.

Zinc Picolinate
Zinc picolinate is another form of chelated zinc. This time zinc’s partner molecules are picolinic amino acids. Very much like consuming zinc with animal-based proteins (which are made up of amino acids), this form of chelation increases zinc absorption significantly.

Zinc Citrate
Zinc citrate, in which the zinc has been complexed with citric acid, is a form of zinc you can only find in supplements. While this form of zinc does have greater bioavailability than the mineral itself, it is less readily absorbed than zinc picolinate.

Zinc Gluconate
Zinc gluconate is one of the most popular dietary zinc supplement forms. This form of zinc is created by fermenting zinc with sugar (glucose), resulting in a product with an extremely long shelf-life.

Zinc Acetate
Like zinc gluconate, zinc acetate is another chemically-altered form of zinc. Zinc acetate is created by adding acetic acid to zinc carbonate or zinc metal, creating an easily absorbed zinc complex.

Zinc Oxide
This form of zinc is an inorganic zinc compound most commonly used in topical ointments.  It offers an excellent method of treating minor skin conditions such as burns and irritation. It is rarely used in zinc supplements that you swallow.

Zinc Sulfate
Zinc sulfate is somewhat different from many of the others on this list as it is completely water-soluble and non-chelated. When zinc sulfate is broken down in your stomach and small intestines, it forms straight zinc that you can directly absorb.

Health Bunker

Lyme Disease is an illness that’s multi-layered and other diseases are the same, they cause damage which in turn reduces our ability to absorb or utilize essential nutrients. These then go on to cause even more issues with identical symptoms across a wide range of problems. Essential nutrient deficiencies can be added to that list of problems creating more multiple illnesses.

In the UK, the United States, Europe and most of the global population, we may not look like we are nutrient deficient, but the facts are different. An abundance of food that’s devoid of enough nutrients and governments who advise supplements are a total waste of time.

But the facts say something different. Published in the Encyclopedia of Britannica is a list of diseases that are caused by nutritional deficiencies, they are basically a list of all illnesses we see around the globe.

Here they are;

Encyclopedia of Britannica, Nutritional Disease;

‘Any of the nutrient-related diseases and conditions that cause illness in humans. They may include deficiencies or excesses in the diet, obesity and eating disorders, and chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, hypertension, cancer, and diabetes mellitus. Nutritional diseases also include developmental abnormalities that can be prevented by diet, hereditary metabolic disorders that respond to dietary treatment, the interaction of foods and nutrients with drugs, food allergies and intolerances, and potential hazards in the food supply. All of these categories are described in this article. For a discussion of essential nutrients, dietary recommendations, and human nutritional needs and concerns throughout the life cycle’.

Questions we should possibly be asking ourselves; 

How many people do these diseases wipe out each year in the UK?   

What is the correlation to nutrient deficiencies?

Why aren’t our kids taught about this in school? 

When will we decide enough is enough and change?


The truth is right in front of us.


Eat Well. Be Well.

Dom and Nic
Health Bunker
It’s Your Life. Own it!

*Disclaimer – Please note, we are not Doctors or trained medical professionals. We are not giving medical advice. Check with your Doctor or health practitioner before trying anything.



Magnesium Education
Health Line
Medical News Today
Liebertpub office of dietary supplements
Health Aid
My Food Data
Medi Line PLus
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Life Extension
Pure Encapsulations

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