Selenium And Testosterone

Minerals And your Hormones Series

What is Selenium?

Selenium, a trace element found in various natural sources, has been touted for its potential to boost testosterone levels and promote male health. But what does the science really say about selenium as a testosterone booster?

The Link Between Selenium and Testosterone: Examining the Evidence

Numerous studies have been conducted to investigate the potential of selenium as a testosterone booster. One notable study focused on infertile men attending a fertility clinic in Nigeria. The researchers compared the levels of testosterone, selenium, and zinc in 50 infertile men and 20 fertile men, all between the ages of 25 and 50. The findings revealed a strong correlation between selenium and testosterone levels in both groups, particularly in the infertile men. The issue we have with this study is that zinc by itself has been shown to raise testosterone in zinc deficient men.

Selenium and Sperm Health

Another study involving 468 sterile males explored the effects of selenium, in combination with a compound called N-acetyl-cysteine, on semen production. The results demonstrated that selenium supplementation led to an increase in semen production in the control group. These studies, among others, provide promising evidence of selenium's positive impact on male health, although not necessarily testosterone production.

Conflicting Research For Selenium And Testosterone

Selenium's effects on testosterone health are often enhanced when combined with other minerals commonly found in testosterone boosters. Hwoever, another study found a negative correlation between zinc and testosterone levels, which contradicted previous research. However, it was discovered that zinc's most powerful effects are seen when combined with magnesium and selenium.

A study involving over 1,000 adolescent males and females further highlighted the relationship between selenium and testosterone. It found that higher selenium levels resulted in increased estrogen in females and higher testosterone in males. This can be attributed to selenium's ability to decrease sex-hormone binding globulin (SHBG) levels. SHBG binds to free testosterone, making it unavailable for use. By reducing SHBG markers, selenium may increase the availability of testosterone for various bodily functions, such as muscle and sperm production in men and estrogen conversion in women.

The consumption of copper and zinc further strengthens the correlation between testosterone production and selenium. A recent study on lab animals revealed that a combination of magnesium, zinc, and selenium led to the highest gains in total and free testosterone, as well as improved strength and muscle development.

However even more conflicting data arises from a study on elite male bicyclists. In this particular study, it was found that only the group receiving zinc supplementation exhibited significantly higher testosterone levels. It is important to consider the context when interpreting these findings. For individuals with diagnosed hypogonadism, medical consultation is necessary, while elite athletes typically have optimized diets already rich in essential minerals and vitamins.

Selenium-Rich Foods and Supplements

While selenium can be obtained from various natural sources, some individuals may choose to supplement their diet with selenium to ensure adequate intake. Brazil nuts are an excellent natural source of selenium, with just one nut containing around 50mcg of the mineral. Other selenium-rich foods include oysters, sardines, egg yolks, and grass-fed beef. It is important to note that the daily recommended intake of selenium for the average male is 55mcg.

For those considering selenium supplementation, it is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the appropriate dosage and ensure it aligns with individual needs and existing health conditions.

Additional Health Benefits of Selenium

In addition to its potential role as a testosterone booster, selenium offers several other health benefits. Let's explore some of these benefits:

Antioxidant Properties - Selenium is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect the body against the harmful effects of free radicals. By neutralizing these free radicals, selenium helps prevent cell damage and reduce the risk of various diseases, including neurodegenerative disorders, cancers, and heart disease.

Thyroid Function - The thyroid gland requires selenium for optimal function. Selenium aids in the production of thyroid hormones and helps protect the gland against inflammation and autoimmune diseases. Maintaining adequate selenium levels can support thyroid health and overall well-being.

Asthma Management - Research suggests that selenium may play a role in reducing inflammation in the airways, potentially benefiting individuals with asthma. Higher levels of selenium have been associated with improved lung function and better management of asthma symptoms.

Mental Health Support - Low levels of selenium have been linked to mental health issues, such as Alzheimer's disease. Selenium supplementation may help improve cognitive function and protect against age-related mental decline.

Heart Health -  Selenium's antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties can contribute to heart health. By reducing oxidative stress and inflammation, selenium may lower the risk of heart disease and support overall cardiovascular well-being.