Is selenium good for weight loss?

Selenium supports weight loss. It’s involved in the synthesis of thyroid hormones, and plays a key role in metabolism, energy levels, and thermogenesis.

Selenium & thyroid hormones

Above all, selenium is key for the good function of the thyroid gland. Also, selenium is involved in the synthesis of thyroid hormones.[1]

The metabolism of energy is among the most important functions of thyroid hormones. These hormones regulate thermogenesis and basal metabolism. Increased thermogenesis means that the body burns more calories.

Moreover, thyroid hormones are linked to body composition. For instance, hypothyroidism is linked to a higher body mass index (BMI) and a higher risk of obesity! Even mild thyroid dysfunction may cause obesity.[2]

Therefore, if you have thyroid disease, you better check your selenium and iodine levels. You should avoid consuming foods high in iodine!

Selenium may improve insulin sensitivity

High amounts of selenium have been linked to low insulin resistance, which leads to reduced risk of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and obesity.[3]

But, what’s the best dose for a beneficial effect on insulin resistance?

Scientists found that a selenium dose of 1.6 mcg per kilogram (0.72 mcg per pound) is good for improving insulin sensitivity. So, a daily selenium dose of 140 mcg for men and 110 mcg for women seems ideal for preventing insulin resistance and obesity! Additionally, other studies have shown that a daily selenium dose of 100-150 mcg a day is beneficial against cancer.[4]

However, higher doses aren’t more beneficial. In fact, too much selenium can be toxic to the body. It may cause side effects, such as skin rashes, fatigue, brittle nails, hair loss, and even weight gain.

The recommended daily intake of selenium for adults is only 55 mcg.

Therefore, a daily dose of 100-150 mcg is more than enough for maintaining a healthy weight. Certainly, there is no need for selenium supplements. Just a Brazil nut a day provides more than enough selenium for weight loss. A nut contains 68–91 mcg of selenium, which is more than the Daily Value! Actually, Brazil nuts are the richest food in selenium.

Zinc and copper are important for improved insulin sensitivity as well. We can get more than enough zinc and copper from food.[4]

Selenium may help lose belly fat

According to another study, selenium intake may help people lose more fat. Participants who received a selenium supplementation of 240 mcg a day lost more fat.[5]

Furthermore, according to the famous CODING study, obesity is associated with low dietary selenium intake. Every increase of 1 mcg of selenium per kilogram causes 3–6% decrease in the proportion of body fat mass!

So, eating a Brazil nut a day, as part of a hypocaloric diet for weight loss, may improve body composition and help maintain a lean body, as it boosts the selenium intake!

Additionally, adequate amounts of selenium might improve the mood of overweight people. People at a good mood tend to be more active. Moderate exercise, like walking, is a key factor for weight loss. Losing weight takes time. Being in a good moon is important for following a low-calorie diet for a long time.[5]

You can add chopped Brazil nuts as a topping to many foods, such as pancakes or oatmeal.

Other foods with selenium for weight loss

Fish, meat, whole cereals, and vegetables are also good dietary sources of selenium. However, Brazil nuts are by far the richest food in selenium!

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