Selenium has actually attracted attention because of its antioxidant homes. Antioxidants safeguard cells from damage. Evidence that selenium supplements may lower the chances of prostate cancer has actually been mixed, but a lot of research studies suggest there is no genuine advantage. Selenium does not appear to impact the threat of colorectal or lung cancer. However beware: some research studies recommend that selenium may increase the risk of non-melanoma skin cancer.

Among healthy individuals in the U.S., selenium deficiencies are uncommon. But some health conditions– such as HIV, Crohn’s disease, and others– are connected with low selenium levels. Individuals who are fed intravenously are likewise at risk for low selenium. Physicians sometimes recommend that individuals with these conditions use selenium supplements.

Selenium has actually likewise been studied for the treatment of lots of conditions. They range from asthma to arthritis to dandruff to infertility. However, the results have been undetermined. [3]

Health Advantages of Selenium

Possibly Efficient:

1) Thyroid Conditions

Selenium is most focused in the thyroid and helps control its function. Severe selenium deficiency might hinder its function and is linked to various thyroid disorders.

Hashimoto’s Illness

Selenium supplements can be beneficial for people with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis or autoimmune hypothyroidism. In a review of four scientific research studies, selenium improved state of mind, basic well-being, and thyroid peroxidase antibodies in people with Hashimoto’s. The direct benefits on thyroid structure and function were less clear, though.

Grave’s Illness

Tomb’ disease (GD) is an autoimmune disease in which the thyroid ends up being enlarged and overactive. In 38 selenium-deficient patients with Tomb’s disease, Se supplements considerably decreased thyroid hormonal agents.

Nevertheless, it showed no short-term advantages in another trial of 30 GD patients with typical selenium levels.

The advantages of Se supplements for Graves’ illness might be limited to Se-deficient clients.


Some pregnant women experience mildly minimized thyroid function, likewise referred to as subclinical hypothyroidism (increased TSH, regular T4).

In an analysis of over 300 pregnant women, lower selenium blood levels were connected to thyroid enlargement and damage. Selenium supplements helped bring back thyroid health, specifically after birth. Selenium was utilized in the form of Selenomethionine, a naturally-occurring selenium-bound amino acid.

In mice with autoimmune thyroiditis, selenium increased T-reg immune cells, which are essential for getting rid of the destructive autoimmune reaction. It likewise lowered blood levels of disease-related antibodies (thyroglobulin TgAb).

2) Viral Infections

Absence of selenium can set off the body immune system and cause even harmless infection infections to progress and end up being dangerous. In the most serious cases, this can lead to complete heart failure (Keshan illness).

Adequate selenium intake safeguards immune cells and aids in producing antibodies. Lower selenium levels can increase damage (via oxidative stress) in healthy cells, reducing immune defense, triggering viruses, and activating their faster division.

HIV infections can trigger selenium shortage, while supplementation may assist fight HIV and improve results. In one trial of 18 HIV-positive people, selenium in mix with standard drugs enhanced the lifestyle. Selenium also blocked the duplication of the infection in cellular and animal research studies.

Selenium levels may forecast the disease outcome in HIV-positive individuals. In one study, selenium-deficient HIV clients were practically 20 times most likely to pass away from HIV than those with typical selenium levels.

In one research study on kids, low selenium levels not only increased the probability of dying from HIV however were also connected to faster dispersing of the disease.

3) Kashin-Beck Disease Avoidance

Kashin-Beck disease (KBD) is an endemic disease of the joints and bones, mainly taking place in particular China areas, particularly Tibet. Selenium shortage plays an essential role, in addition to various environmental and genetic elements.

According to a meta-analysis of 11 Chinese medical trials with 2652 clients, including Se-enriched salt to a diet plan decreases the chances of Kashin-Beck disease by 84% in healthy kids, compared with iodized salt.

However, Se supplements didn’t enhance joint discomfort or movement in 324 kids with Kashin-Beck illness. The authors emphasized the role of iodine shortage in KBD.

4) Preeclampsia

Preeclampsia is defined by hypertension, swelling, and the presence of protein in the urine during pregnancy.

In a meta-analysis of 3 trials with 439 pregnant ladies, Se supplements (60-100 mcg daily for up to 6 months) decreased the danger of preeclampsia by 72% compared with placebo. According to 13 observational studies (1,515 individuals), pregnant women with low Se levels have a higher threat of preeclampsia.

Insufficient Proof:

No valid clinical proof supports the use of selenium for any of the conditions in this area. Below is a summary of updated animal research studies, cell-based research study, or low-quality medical trials which should trigger more examination. However, you shouldn’t analyze them as helpful of any health advantage.

5) Brain Security

The advantages of fish usage are typically attributed to polyunsaturated fatty acids, omega-3s, however high amounts of selenium discovered in fish may be similarly essential. Selenium works in synergy with the fats, avoiding their breakdown and enhancing their helpful results on cognition.

In one research study on 200 older people, fish intake increased selenium blood levels more than omega-3 levels. According to the authors, better cognitive function in the elderly may depend directly on selenium [24]

Selenium is extremely crucial for your brain health. Low selenium levels are connected to poor cognition, memory issues, and low neurotransmitter levels in the brain. Alzheimer’s clients had just 60% of the brain selenium levels of healthy individuals in one research study.

6) Cancer Avoidance

The role of selenium in cancer avoidance is a hot subject of argument and the findings are conflicting. Selenium supplements aren’t approved for cancer prevention or treatment.

Encouraging Research study

Since the 70s, research studies have actually been reporting that increased selenium intake lowers cancer deaths and vice versa. In one study, the dietary intake of selenium in 27 countries was connected to less deaths from cancer. In the United States, deaths from cancer were much greater in low selenium counties, in which people are more likely to be deficient.

Early studies of as much as 11,000 individuals reported that low selenium status is linked with an increased cancer risk of cancer and death. The approximated threat ranged from 2 to six-fold and was at times only suitable to men.

Some current studies support early findings. Somewhat increased selenium consumption– still well below toxic levels– was related to a lower risk of colorectal and prostate cancer.

In 37 men, a mix of Milk thistle (Silymarin) and selenium decreased LDL, inflammation, and overall cholesterol after prostate removal surgery, possibly preventing prostate cancer relapse and development.

Conflicting Research

A substantial constraint is that many research studies of selenium consumption and cancer danger are observational. Observational research studies can make associations, however can’t attribute any causation.

There have been extremely couple of scientific trials using selenium as a restorative representative, which are required to identify its effects. Numerous other aspects– including way of life, genes, gender, and age, phase, and type of cancer– will impact cancer results and the preventive action of selenium.

In one scientific trial of over 1,000 people with a history of nonmelanoma skin cancer, 200 µg/ day of selenium (as selenium yeast) didn’t minimize the possibilities of regression. However it did lower all-type cancer death by 50% and cancer rates by 37%. It especially reduced the rates of prostate, colon, and lung cancer.

According to a meta-analysis of 15 medical trials, Se supplementation may lower the danger of lung cancer in lacking clients but increase the threat in clients with normal Se levels.

Once again, the benefits of Se supplementation actually came from repairing a deficiency.

Discouraging Research

Regardless of a number of promising scientific trials, the largest evaluation updated concluded that there is no evidence to support increased selenium intake through diet plan or supplements in avoiding cancer in people. This review included 83 research studies and emphasized the above-mentioned downsides of the available research studies.

Selenium supplements or increased dietary consumption would certainly provide advantages to Se-deficient individuals. However considered that shortage is rather unusual, it would be best to inspect selenium blood levels prior to taking supplements. Whether selenium prevents cancer is still unidentified while taking in extreme selenium can just be damaging.

More medical research study is required, considering genetics, nutritional status, and various types of selenium supplements.

7) Immune Response

Selenium shortage impairs immune function. Appropriately, selenium supplementation stimulates the body immune system, even in individuals who are not lacking. Lymphocytes of people who supplemented with selenium (200 µg/ day) were more active and effective at destroying foreign invaders and tumor cells.

Selenium may be more vital for proper resistance than was formerly recognized. Triggered immune cells have an increased requirement for selenium and its amino-acid bound type (selenocysteine), according to current research studies.

Great For Th2-Dominant Individuals

Selenium supplementation might help divert the immune response far from the Th2-type and promote the Th1-type, which safeguards against asthma, allergic reactions, viral infections and cancer.

More research studies are needed to examine the immune-stimulating homes of selenium.

8) Fertility and Reproductive Health

Balanced selenium levels are very important for reproductive health in both males and females. In men, selenium is necessary for producing sperm and testosterone.

In a research study of 69 guys with fertility concerns, selenium supplements mildly increased sperm motility however didn’t enhance sperm density. 11% of the men who took selenium achieved paternity, compared to none in the placebo group.

However, Se supplements had no benefits on sperm count, motility, or quality in a comparable trial of 33 clients.

In research studies on male rats, selenium increased testosterone levels however only in rats who were selenium-deficient.

In women, sufficient selenium levels are especially important during early pregnancy. In one research study, women who struggled with recurrent miscarriages were more likely to have lower selenium blood levels. Selenium shortage was also linked to an increased likelihood of miscarriages in animal research studies.

9) Heart Health

Selenium may protect versus cardiovascular disease, probably by enhancing the antioxidant glutathione, reducing oxidative stress and preventing platelet clumping.

Selenium deficiency ultimately causes damaging, reactive substances to build up, making capillary less flexible and platelets more “sticky”. For example, in guys with heart disease, low selenium may cause platelets to clump together and narrow capillary, potentially intensifying heart health.

The scientific results are still combined, though. In one research study, low selenium was linked to a 2- to three-fold boost in heart problem, while in another study men with low selenium were at an increased danger of heart attacks or stroke. But other small research studies didn’t find any clear link in between cardiovascular disease risk and selenium levels.

In 668 elderly Swedish individuals, supplementation with selenium (200 μg) and coenzyme Q10 (200 mg) for 4 years considerably lowered the risk of cardiac arrest. It came by 50% in previously Se-deficient patients and by 62% in patients with moderate Se levels.

Patients with high Se levels didn’t gain from supplementation, recommending once again that the benefits might be limited to Se-deficient people.

Additional research ought to identify whether selenium supplementation protects against heart problem and under which events.

10) Mood and Stress And Anxiety

Low selenium levels have actually been linked to depression, stress and anxiety, fatigue, and mental confusion. In one study of 50 individuals, selenium supplements (100 mcg/day) over 5 weeks improved state of mind, energy levels, and minimized stress and anxiety.

Selenium supplementation over 8 weeks significantly enhanced depression and slightly decreased anxiety in a study on senior citizens living in nursing homes.

Selenium Blood Test & Typical Ranges

The margin between selenium deficiency, optimum and above-optimal levels and toxicity is very narrow. Understanding your selenium status can be useful in identifying possible health problems.

The most typical method to measure selenium status is using blood biomarkers that reflect selenium intake, which can include the following:.

  • Elemental selenium (normal range: 70– 160 ng/mL)
  • Glutathione peroxidase
  • Selenoprotein P, the main supplier of selenium to tissues

To increase durability, fight swelling, and aid in cancer prevention, even higher blood levels have been looked into. Slightly above-optimal consumption might lower the threat of lung, prostate and colorectal cancers, however the proof is undetermined.

Aside from blood tests, long-lasting selenium status can additionally be examined by measuring selenium concentrations in toenails and hair. [4]

16 Interesting Selenium Facts

Selenium is a chemical component found in a wide variety of products. Here are some interesting facts about selenium:.

  • Selenium gets its name from the Greek word “selene,” which suggests “moon.” Selene was the Greek goddess of the moon.
  • Selenium has atomic number 34, indicating each atom has 34 protons. The component symbol of selenium is Se.
  • Selenium was discovered collectively in 1817 by Swedish chemists Jöns Jakob Berzelius (1779– 1848) and Johan Gottlieb Gahn (1745– 1818).
  • Although it is uncommonly discovered, selenium does exist in fairly pure type, free in nature.
  • Selenium is a nonmetal. Like lots of nonmetals, it displays various colors and structures (allotropes) depending on the conditions.
  • Brazil nuts are high in selenium, even if they are grown in soil that is not rich in the aspect. A single nut supplies enough selenium to satisfy the everyday requirement for a human adult.
  • English electrical engineer Willoughby Smith (1828– 1891) found that selenium reacts to light (photoelectric result), leading to its usage as a light sensing unit in the 1870s. Scottish-born American innovator Alexander Graham Bell (1847– 1922) made a selenium-based photophone in 1879.
  • The primary use of selenium is to decolorize glass, to color glass red, and to make the pigment China Red. Other usages remain in photocells, in laser printers and copy machines, in steels, and in semiconductors.
  • There are 6 natural isotopes of selenium. One is radioactive, while the other 5 are steady. Nevertheless, the half-life of the unstable isotope is so long that it is essentially steady. Another 23 unstable isotopes have actually been produced.
  • Some plants need high levels of selenium to make it through, so the existence of those plants means the soil is abundant in the component.
  • Liquid selenium shows exceptionally high surface area stress.
  • Selenium is very important to numerous enzymes, including antioxidant enzymes glutathione peroxidase and thioredoxin reductase and the deiodinase enzymes that convert thyroid hormonal agents into other forms.
  • Roughly 2,000 tons of selenium are drawn out every year worldwide.
  • Selenium is most frequently produced as a by-product of copper refining.
  • The component was featured in the movies “Ghostbusters” and “Advancement.” [5]

Chemical worth of selenium

Selenium is an aspect present in the periodic table of all the existing components found by human beings. The numerous chemical and essential homes of selenium are pointed out below.

Selenium occupies the 34th aspect in the periodic table. This also means that the atomic number of selenium is 34.

Like every other aspect on the table of elements, selenium has an atomic sign, too, which is ‘Se.’ This atomic symbol is utilized when expressing a chain reaction involving selenium or one of its compounds.

  • The atomic mass, or weight, of selenium is 78.96.
  • Selenium’s state at room temperature level is strong.
  • The melting point of selenium is 428 F (220 C), and its boiling point is 1,264.64 F (684.8 C).
  • Selenium has numerous isotopes, but only 6 of them are known as steady isotopes.
  • Selenium is positioned right below sulfur, and both elements share comparable physical in addition to chemical properties.
  • There are lots of allotropes of selenium, however just three are popular. The first one is amorphous selenium, which exists in powder and vitreous or glassy kinds. While in the previous, it is red in color, in the latter phase it is black.
  • Another allotrope of selenium is crystalline hexagonal selenium, which is thought about to be the most steady allotropic kind of selenium. This allotrope is metal gray.
  • The third allotrope is crystalline monoclinic selenium, which exists in a crimson color.
  • Selenium is organized as a chalcogen and is a non-metal.
  • It can be discovered separately in nature, however it is typically present as a compound such as zinc selenide or selenium dioxide.
  • It is also a part of unusual minerals like clausthalite.
  • When it is used in chain reactions, selenous acid is a reliable driver.
  • Out of all the selenium compounds, hydrogen selenide is the most poisonous one. It is present in gaseous kind.
  • Taking selenium supplements when it is currently present in high quantities in your natural diet can lead to selenium poisoning.

Plants With High Amounts Of Selenium

Selenium’s natural abundance on earth can be discovered in lots of places. Research has found that levels of selenium are high in seafood and some sort of organ meat. It is even present in the water that individuals drink in some places.

If there is selenium present in the soil, it can influence the amount of selenium in the food that grows in it. This is additional affected by aspects such as the pH of the soil.

Vegetables such as cauliflower, cabbage, and broccoli likewise have a high level of selenium existence.

Plants like Brazil nuts and garlic, when grown in soil that has an abundant quantity of selenium, can gather the mineral too.

Some grains and cereals like wheat can have a relatively high content of selenium too. [6]

Use of selenium supplements

People can get selenium through multivitamins and other dietary supplements. These might contain the mineral in various kinds, consisting of selenomethionine and sodium selenate.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020– 2025Trusted Source encourage people to get their nutrients from food sources instead of supplements. Eating a varied and healthful diet plan is more important than focusing on specific nutrients as the secret to good health.

When taking any supplement, it is important to purchase it from a reputable source. In the United States, the Fda (FDA) does not keep track of supplements for quality, purity, product packaging, or strength. [7]

Indications of Selenium Shortage You Might Be Disregarding

Selenium Shortage Symptom: You’re losing your hair

Among the most important things on selenium’s order of business: assist transform your T4 thyroid hormonal agent into the more active kind called T3, describes Small. If you run low, you may experience signs of hypothyroidism, one of which is hair loss. “There can be many reasons for loss of hair, so it’s your health specialist’s job to know what to check for,” says Small.

Selenium Shortage Symptom: You’re so exhausted

Another typical hypothyroid symptom: fatigue. This may be a result of poor selenium levels slowing down your thyroid. “We want to knock out the apparent way of life aspects prior to taking a look at selenium,” states Small. That might be ensuring that your diet has sufficient levels of carbohydrates, protein, and fat, searching for a vitamin D shortage, or analyzing iron levels. Then, make sure to follow these healthy routines for your thyroid.

Selenium Deficiency Sign: You’re putting on weight

When you experience undesirable weight gain, you’ll wish to get to the origin. Once again, your thyroid’s thirst for selenium might play a role, and repairing that inadequacy can assist your thyroid return online. Although Small first looks at diet when a client is gaining weight, she will think about screening selenium levels down the line. To discover why you’re loading on the pounds, think about these unexpected reasons for weight gain.

Selenium Deficiency Symptom: You’re not working at your best

Selenium is required to form selenoproteins, states Little, consisting of glutathione peroxidase: “It is among the body’s primary methods to take harmful toxins and turn them into harmless by-products,” she says. “Shortages in this can cause quite serious health consequences,” she keeps in mind.

Selenium Deficiency Sign: You may be at a higher danger for certain cancers

You’re most likely up for doing whatever you can to prevent cancer– and preserving optimum levels of selenium may reshuffle the deck in your favor. In a 2014 Cochrane Evaluation, scientists examined 55 observational research studies to take a look at the link between selenium and cancer. They found a 31 percent lower risk of cancer connected with greater selenium exposure, particularly with stomach, bladder, and prostate cancer. But other trials stopped working to reveal a benefit from selenium. Without concrete proof, the authors conclude that supplements most likely aren’t the answer. Rather, concentrate on the foods you can eat that will supply a series of health benefits, consisting of selenium-rich foods like asparagus, broccoli, and mushrooms. And while you’re at it, you might wish to prevent these 10 surprising things that can trigger cancer.

Selenium Deficiency Sign: You’re sick all the time

Initially, make sure you’re cleaning your hands routinely, you got the flu shot, and you’re sleeping long enough and soundly (try these 13 secrets from sleep doctors). However you’re not doing yourself any favors if your selenium levels are low. “Without the ability to sufficiently make glutathione peroxidase, your immune system can’t work appropriately, and you might find you’re sick more frequently,” says Small.

Selenium Shortage Sign: Your body is under a lot of tension

Selenium is a powerful disease-fighting antioxidant. “Oxidative stress causes damage to cells throughout your body. Any time you can secure your cells from oxidative tension is a good idea,” says Small. Find go-to methods to simmer down in the moment, sleep enough to help your body recover, and eat well– including getting adequate selenium in your diet plan.

Selenium Shortage Symptom: You have shortness of breath

Those selenoproteins have another vital task: to safeguard your heart. A male who had Crohn’s illness stated his case: He experienced inflamed legs and shortness of breath and it was later discovered that he had a selenium deficiency that caused his heart failure. But the jury is still out on supplements: Although low selenium levels have actually been associated with a greater danger of cardiovascular disease, professionals hesitate to suggest taking selenium pills. Instead, stick to a healthy, selenium-rich diet. [8]

Selenium adverse effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these indications of an allergy: hives; tough breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Long term use of high selenium dosages can result in hazardous negative effects. Stop taking selenium and call your physician at once if you have:.

  • nausea, vomiting;
  • lack of energy, feeling irritable or extremely exhausted
  • hair loss, moderate rash, brittle or uncomfortable fingernails, or white streaks on the nails;
  • tremors, feeling light-headed;
  • muscle tenderness;
  • flushing (heat, redness, or tingly sensation);
  • metal taste, foul breath, strong body smell; or
  • easy bruising or bleeding. [9]

Prior to Using

Allergic reactions

Tell your medical professional if you have actually ever had any uncommon or allergic reaction to medications in this group or any other medications. Likewise inform your health care expert if you have any other kinds of allergies, such as to foods dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or bundle active ingredients thoroughly.


Issues in children have actually not been reported with intake of normal daily recommended quantities.


Issues in older grownups have not been reported with consumption of normal day-to-day suggested quantities.


It is specifically essential that you are receiving enough minerals and vitamins when you become pregnant which you continue to receive the right amount of minerals and vitamins throughout your pregnancy. The healthy development and development of the fetus depend on a consistent supply of nutrients from the mother. However, taking large amounts of a dietary supplement in pregnancy might be damaging to the mom and/or fetus and need to be prevented.

Studies in animals have revealed that selenium causes abnormality when given in big doses.


It is necessary that you receive the right amounts of minerals and vitamins so that your infant will also get the minerals and vitamins needed to grow properly. Nevertheless, taking large quantities of a dietary supplement while breast-feeding might be harmful to the mother and/or baby and must be prevented.

Drug Interactions

Although certain medications need to not be utilized together at all, in other cases two various medications may be utilized together even if an interaction may happen. In these cases, your doctor may wish to alter the dosage, or other preventative measures may be essential. When you are taking any of these medicines, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medications listed below. The following interactions have actually been picked on the basis of their possible significance and are not necessarily complete.

Utilizing medicines in this class with any of the following medicines is normally not recommended, however might be required sometimes. If both medications are prescribed together, your medical professional may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medications.

Other Interactions

Specific medications must not be utilized at or around the time of eating food or consuming certain kinds of food considering that interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with particular medicines may likewise trigger interactions to occur. Talk about with your health care expert making use of your medication with food, alcohol, or tobacco.

Other Medical Issues

The presence of other medical problems might impact using medicines in this class. Make sure you tell your physician if you have any other medical issues, particularly:.

Kidney problems or.

Stomach issues– These conditions might cause higher blood levels of selenium, which may increase the opportunity of undesirable effects.


The dosage medicines in this class will be various for different patients. Follow your medical professional’s orders or the instructions on the label. The following details includes just the average dosages of these medicines. If your dosage is different, do not alter it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends upon the strength of the medicine. Also, the variety of doses you take each day, the time allowed in between dosages, and the length of time you take the medication depend upon the medical problem for which you are utilizing the medicine.

For selenium:.

For oral dose form (tablets):.

To prevent shortage, the quantity is based on typical daily recommended consumption:.

  • Grownup and teenage males– 40 to 70 micrograms (mcg) daily.
  • Grownup and teenage women– 45 to 55 mcg daily.
  • Pregnant women– 65 mcg daily.
  • Breast-feeding females– 75 mcg per day.
  • Kids 7 to 10 years of age– 30 mcg per day.
  • Children 4 to 6 years of age– 20 mcg each day.
  • Children birth to 3 years of age– 10 to 20 mcg per day.

To deal with deficiency:

Adults, teenagers, and kids– Treatment dose is figured out by prescriber for each private based upon severity of shortage.

Missed Dose

If you miss a dosage of this medication, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dosage, avoid the missed out on dosage and return to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double dosages.


  • Stay out of the reach of kids.
  • Store the medication in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Do not cool. Avoid freezing.
  • Do not keep outdated medicine or medication no longer needed. [10]


Selenium is an effective mineral that is important for the correct performance of your body.

It plays a crucial role in metabolic process and thyroid function and helps safeguard your body from damage caused by oxidative tension.

What’s more, selenium may help increase your immune system, sluggish age-related psychological decrease, and even decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease.

This micronutrient can be found in a variety of foods, from oysters to mushrooms to Brazil nuts.

Including more selenium-rich foods to your diet plan is an excellent method to maintain good health. [11]


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