In the hair care industry, products made from ingredients that sound expensive or unique are far more popular than those that stick to the regular constituents. However, these mainstream and overpriced products should not rein in never-been-heard ingredients and their components from promoting hair growth, one of which is selenium.
Although it may not be as well-known as iron and silica, this mineral is said to help save your hair against its pitfall. Want to know more? To get you started, learn more about the hair-boosting power selenium holds and check out the top sources of of this mineral.
Selenium: What Is It and How Does It Benefit Hair Growth?
Among all the minerals for hair growth, selenium is often underrated. As a result, this plant-and-animal-based nutrient isn’t given much significance in most hair growth and hair care products. This mineral obtained from the earth’s soil, water, and crops have science-backed benefits not only to one’s health but also to hair growth. Below are some of the wonders selenium does to your hair.
1. It has regenerative capabilities for antioxidant activity.
Before you learn how selenium works against free radical damage, get to know how free radicals can hamper hair growth. Free radicals have unpaired electrons, and this abnormality means that they need to get other electrons from other cells to survive. As a result, healthy cells get sacrificed for the sake of these radicals. Concerning hair growth, free radicals can hasten hair cellular degeneration, forcing anagen (or growing) hair follicles to shift into the telogen (or resting) phase. These radicals also make your hair age faster, which is why you can see many popping grey strands and hair falling out of your head even at a young age.
However, with the help of selenoenzymes, hair follicles can avoid oxidative stress. Scientific studies have found how selenium and its enzymes can stimulate the regeneration and propagation of certain antioxidants in the body, thereby preventing free radical formation.
2. It keeps your scalp in a healthy condition.
Hair growth does not only mean keeping your hair follicles well-nourished. It also involves maintaining your scalp’s cleanliness. In that case, selenium can help you do that, thanks to its anti-dandruff capabilities. Specifically, it can eradicate the dandruff-causing fungus Malassezia, thereby preventing any dandruff-induced hair growth issue.
3. It prevents hormonal imbalance from initiating hair loss problems.
Hormones play various and vital physiological functions. In fact, no human can survive without hormones. Hence, an imbalance in the chemical messengers can rattle biological activities, including hair growth.
However, selenium, a trace mineral often overlooked by many hair growth supplements, is said to help thwart hormonal imbalance from happening. Thyroid hormones produced in the thyroid gland are responsible for various metabolic processes, which affect hair growth. If your body’s metabolism doesn’t do well, your hair follicles may be endangered, jump-starting some hair growth issues. Hence, selenium is much needed to keep your thyroid hormones in check.
4. It may protect your tresses against ultraviolet rays.
Your hair often gets exposed to the sun, putting your hair health at risk, which is why the hair care experts have never stopped seeking the best ingredients with sun-protective properties. For instance, studies have discovered that selenoproteins or proteins with selenium may prevent the ultraviolet rays from inducing cellular damage. They have found how selenium can increase the UV-absorbing properties of plants. They have also found that some of these selenium-containing plants are edible, such as cauliflower, cabbage, and spinach.
5. It may prevent hair loss problems.
Selenium is another mineral deemed essential to healthy hair growth. It plays a big part in hair keratinization. If more proteins are synthesized, more hair strands are created. Plus, selenium also stimulates the regularity of your hair growth cycle, allowing anagen or growth follicles to produce hair strands on time. A 2019 scientific review on selenium stated selenium’s role in mitigating the hair loss effects among a group of chemotherapy patients. Hence, a deficiency in this mineral may affect your hair count.
Foraging Natural Sources: Where Can You Get a Fair Amount of Selenium?
Have you ever been curious as to where you can obtain selenium? If so, you may need to check the following naturally rich sources of selenium (in no particular order).
1. Brazil Nuts
Are you looking for some selenium-enriched foods perfect for snack time? No problem! You’ve got Brazil nuts, nuts that are well-known for their nutty savor and greasy texture. However, these nuts have something more than flavors, for they can also help improve thyroid function. Brazil nuts are also potent sources of fatty acids, adding up to the total nutritional value for hair growth.
You can also find selenium-packed sources under the sea, such as tuna since it has 92 micrograms of selenium per serving. Fatty fishes like yellowfin tuna and tuna are similar to Brazil nuts since they both are potent sources of selenium and fatty acids, nutrients vital to healthy hair growth.
The famous character “Popeye” is well-known for his love for spinach, and who would’ve thought that his favorite food is also one of the selenium-enriched greens that you can add to your diet. You can make use of spinach and its mineral content. Although spinach has 9% selenium content per 100-gram serving, it is already a healthy add-on to your selenium-enriched diet. Spinach also contains vitamins A and C, helping augment healthy hair growth.
4. Cruciferous veggies
If you’re aiming to live healthily, you might want to add cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbages, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts to your diet. These super veggies are not only low in calories, but they are very healthy sources of fiber and, of course, selenium. Based on studies, consuming these vegetables will help you prevent oxidative stress and even cancer, thanks to selenium and its antioxidant and anticarcinogenic properties. To obtain these veggies’ superpowers, add them to your stew, salad, and smoothies.
You don’t have to feel worried about going vegan because you’ve got some great news: you can obtain selenium from various meats, such as pork, beef, chicken, turkey, and seafood. You can get around 25 micrograms of selenium from chicken and turkey, whereas you’ll obtain 33 micrograms of this trace mineral from pork.
Of all the meaty sources of selenium, ham is among the top choices. Ham or preserved pork on the leg area contains 42 micrograms of selenium per serving. However, since ham has high salt content, it is of utmost necessity to eat ham only in moderation.
Not a fan of meat? Eggs got your back! Eggs are also packed with selenium, and you can really pair eggs with almost every kind of meal. From breakfast until dinner (and even midnight snack time), you can always get your fair share of selenium from eggs having 20 micrograms of selenium per serving. Plus, you will never get bored revamping your everyday meals, for you can use eggs in almost every dish.
How Safe Are You from Using Selenium for Hair Growth?
Since some people are still unaware of what wonders selenium can do to your hair, let us get straight to the point. Selenium is safe for the human body, and most especially for hair growth stimulation. Hence, you need not worry when your food contains selenium.
However, just like any other vitamin or mineral, too much selenium can take a toll on your health. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration or the FDA recommends adults to take a maximum of 400 micrograms of selenium per day to avoid health complications. For instance, high selenium levels in your body can cause selenosis. This type of mineral poisoning can lead to various difficulties in the respiratory and digestive systems. You may also suffer from its physical ramifications, such as smelly breath, frequent nausea, brittle nails, skin discoloration, and skin rashes.
What is even worse and ironic is that too much selenium can also take a toll on your hair, causing your hair to thin and become fragile. Your body does not also absorb and break down selenium quickly compared to other minerals. Therefore, you need to be cautious when ingesting selenium-enriched foods or supplements. Remember that everything consumed excessively is harmful to your health, and so is selenium overdose.
Witness the Beauty of Your Hair with the Help of Selenium.
Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, but it would really help if you do your part to make your hair appear shinier and healthier in the eyes of many. However, you can only make it possible by eating a healthy diet, following the best hair care habits, using the best hair growth products, and relying on the power of selenium to let everyone witness your hair’s beauty like no other.
Incorporate Selenium Into Your Day-to-Day Supplementation.
Hair growth products are not enough to make your hair grow faster, lengthier, and more robust. It would also help to get a boost of hair vitamins and minerals from your food intake. Hence, don’t forget to include selenium-enriched foods in your diet.