38 mins read

Selenium has attracted attention because of its antioxidant homes. Anti-oxidants secure cells from damage. Evidence that selenium supplements may minimize the odds of prostate cancer has actually been blended, however the majority of research studies suggest there is no real benefit. Selenium does not appear to impact the risk of colorectal or lung cancer. However beware: some research studies recommend that selenium may increase the danger of non-melanoma skin cancer.

Amongst healthy people in the U.S., selenium deficiencies are uncommon. But some health conditions– such as HIV, Crohn’s disease, and others– are related to low selenium levels. People who are fed intravenously are likewise at risk for low selenium. Doctors sometimes suggest that people with these conditions use selenium supplements.

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

Health Advantages of Selenium

Possibly Reliable:

1) Thyroid Conditions

Selenium is most focused in the thyroid and assists manage its function. Serious selenium deficiency might hinder its function and is linked to various thyroid conditions.

Hashimoto’s Illness

Selenium supplements can be useful for people with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis or autoimmune hypothyroidism. In an evaluation of four clinical research studies, selenium improved state of mind, basic wellness, and thyroid peroxidase antibodies in people with Hashimoto’s. The direct benefits on thyroid structure and function were less clear, though.

Tomb’s Illness

Graves’ disease (GD) is an autoimmune illness in which the thyroid becomes bigger and overactive. In 38 selenium-deficient clients with Grave’s disease, Se supplementation substantially minimized thyroid hormonal agents.

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

The advantages of Se supplements for Tomb’ illness may be restricted to Se-deficient patients.


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

In an analysis of over 300 pregnant ladies, lower selenium blood levels were linked to thyroid augmentation and damage. Selenium supplements helped bring back thyroid health, especially after birth. Selenium was used 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 crucial for overcoming the destructive autoimmune action. It likewise reduced blood levels of disease-related antibodies (thyroglobulin TgAb).

2) Viral Infections

Lack of selenium can set off the body immune system and trigger even harmless virus infections to progress and end up being harmful. In the most severe cases, this can lead to total cardiac arrest (Keshan illness).

Sufficient selenium intake secures immune cells and help in producing antibodies. Lower selenium levels can increase damage (via oxidative tension) in healthy cells, decreasing immune defense, activating infections, and triggering their faster division.

HIV infections can activate selenium shortage, while supplementation might assist battle HIV and enhance outcomes. In one trial of 18 HIV-positive people, selenium in combination with standard drugs improved the lifestyle. Selenium likewise blocked the replication of the infection in cellular and animal studies.

Selenium levels might anticipate the disease result in HIV-positive people. In one research study, selenium-deficient HIV clients were almost 20 times more likely to pass away from HIV than those with typical selenium levels.

In one research study on children, low selenium levels not only increased the possibility of passing away from HIV but were also connected to faster dispersing of the illness.

3) Kashin-Beck Illness Prevention

Kashin-Beck illness (KBD) is an endemic disease of the joints and bones, generally happening in particular China areas, especially Tibet. Selenium shortage plays an important function, in addition to various environmental and hereditary factors.

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

Nevertheless, Se supplements didn’t enhance joint discomfort or mobility in 324 children with Kashin-Beck disease. The authors emphasized the role of iodine shortage in KBD.

4) Preeclampsia

Preeclampsia is identified 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 approximately 6 months) reduced the risk of preeclampsia by 72% compared to placebo. According to 13 observational studies (1,515 participants), pregnant women with low Se levels have a higher danger of preeclampsia.

Inadequate Proof:

No valid medical evidence supports the use of selenium for any of the conditions in this area. Below is a summary of current animal studies, cell-based research study, or low-grade medical trials which need to stimulate more investigation. However, you should not analyze them as encouraging of any health advantage.

5) Brain Security

The advantages of fish intake are frequently attributed to polyunsaturated fats, omega-3s, but high amounts of selenium discovered in fish might be equally crucial. Selenium operates in synergy with the fatty acids, preventing their breakdown and boosting their advantageous effects on cognition.

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

Selenium is really crucial for your brain health. Low selenium levels are linked 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 Prevention

The function of selenium in cancer avoidance is a hot subject of debate and the findings are contrasting. Selenium supplements aren’t authorized for cancer prevention or treatment.

Encouraging Research study

Ever since the 70s, studies have actually been reporting that increased selenium intake reduces cancer deaths and vice versa. In one research study, the dietary consumption of selenium in 27 nations was connected to fewer deaths from cancer. In the United States, deaths from cancer were much higher in low selenium counties, in which individuals are most likely to be deficient.

Early studies of as much as 11,000 people reported that low selenium status is linked with an increased cancer danger of cancer and death. The estimated risk ranged from 2 to six-fold and was at times just applicable to males.

Some recent studies support early findings. Somewhat increased selenium intake– still well below harmful levels– was associated with a lower risk of colorectal and prostate cancer.

In 37 men, a combination of Milk thistle (Silymarin) and selenium reduced LDL, swelling, and total cholesterol after prostate elimination surgery, possibly preventing prostate cancer relapse and progression.

Conflicting Research study

A substantial constraint is that many studies of selenium consumption and cancer threat are observational. Observational studies can make associations, but can’t associate any causation.

There have been very few medical trials using selenium as a restorative representative, which are required to determine its effects. Lots of other elements– including lifestyle, genes, gender, and age, stage, and kind of cancer– will affect cancer outcomes and the preventive action of selenium.

In one medical trial of over 1,000 people with a history of nonmelanoma skin cancer, 200 µg/ day of selenium (as selenium yeast) didn’t reduce the opportunities of relapse. But it did lower all-type cancer death by 50% and cancer rates by 37%. It especially minimized the rates of prostate, colon, and lung cancer.

According to a meta-analysis of 15 scientific trials, Se supplements might decrease the risk of lung cancer in lacking clients but increase the threat in patients with typical Se levels.

Once again, the advantages of Se supplementation in fact stemmed from repairing a deficiency.

Discouraging Research study

Regardless of a number of appealing scientific trials, the biggest evaluation updated concluded that there is no proof to support increased selenium consumption through diet or supplements in avoiding cancer in human beings. This evaluation consisted of 83 research studies and emphasized those drawbacks of the readily available studies.

Selenium supplements or increased dietary consumption would certainly offer benefits to Se-deficient people. But considered that shortage is rather rare, it would be best to examine selenium blood levels before taking supplements. Whether selenium prevents cancer is still unidentified while taking in excessive selenium can only be hazardous.

More clinical research study is required, taking into consideration genetics, dietary status, and different types of selenium supplements.

7) Immune Action

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

Selenium might be more vital for correct immunity than was previously understood. Triggered immune cells have actually an increased requirement for selenium and its amino-acid bound form (selenocysteine), according to recent studies.

Helpful For Th2-Dominant Individuals

Selenium supplementation may assist divert the immune response away from the Th2-type and promote the Th1-type, which safeguards versus asthma, allergies, viral infections and cancer.

More studies are needed to evaluate the immune-stimulating residential or commercial properties of selenium.

8) Fertility and Reproductive Health

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

In a research study of 69 males with fertility concerns, selenium supplements mildly increased sperm motility but didn’t enhance sperm density. 11% of the men who took selenium attained 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 patients.

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

In ladies, appropriate selenium levels are particularly crucial throughout early pregnancy. In one study, women who struggled with recurrent miscarriages were more likely to have lower selenium blood levels. Selenium deficiency was also connected to an increased probability of miscarriages in animal studies.

9) Heart Health

Selenium may protect against heart problem, probably by improving the antioxidant glutathione, reducing oxidative stress and avoiding platelet clumping.

Selenium deficiency ultimately causes damaging, reactive substances to develop, making capillary less flexible and platelets more “sticky”. For example, in males with cardiovascular disease, low selenium may trigger platelets to clump together and narrow capillary, possibly aggravating heart health.

The scientific results are still mixed, though. In one study, low selenium was linked to a two- to three-fold increase in heart disease, while in another study males with low selenium were at an increased risk of heart attacks or stroke. But other little research studies didn’t discover any clear link between heart disease danger and selenium levels.

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

Patients with high Se levels didn’t gain from supplements, recommending once again that the benefits might be restricted to Se-deficient individuals.

Additional research ought to figure out whether selenium supplements safeguards against heart problem and under which celebrations.

10) Mood and Stress And Anxiety

Low selenium levels have been connected to depression, anxiety, exhaustion, and mental confusion. In one study of 50 individuals, selenium supplementation (100 mcg/day) over 5 weeks improved mood, energy levels, and minimized anxiety.

Selenium supplementation over 8 weeks visibly improved anxiety and slightly reduced anxiety in a research study on elders living in retirement home.

Selenium Blood Test & Typical Ranges

The margin in between selenium shortage, ideal and above-optimal levels and toxicity is extremely narrow. Knowing your selenium status can be handy in recognizing prospective health problems.

The most common method to measure selenium status is utilizing blood biomarkers that show selenium intake, which can include the following:.

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

To increase durability, battle swelling, and aid in cancer prevention, even higher blood levels have been looked into. Somewhat above-optimal intake may minimize the risk of lung, prostate and colorectal cancers, however the proof is inconclusive.

Aside from blood tests, long-term selenium status can alternatively be evaluated by measuring selenium concentrations in toe nails and hair. [4]

16 Intriguing Selenium Facts

Selenium is a chemical element discovered in a wide range of items. Here are some fascinating 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, implying each atom has 34 protons. The element symbol of selenium is Se.
  • Selenium was discovered jointly in 1817 by Swedish chemists Jöns Jakob Berzelius (1779– 1848) and Johan Gottlieb Gahn (1745– 1818).
  • Although it is unusually discovered, selenium does exist in relatively pure kind, totally free in nature.
  • Selenium is a nonmetal. Like lots of nonmetals, it shows different 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 component. A single nut provides enough selenium to fulfill the everyday requirement for a human adult.
  • English electrical engineer Willoughby Smith (1828– 1891) found that selenium reacts to light (photoelectric result), resulting in its use as a light sensor in the 1870s. Scottish-born American creator 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 uses remain in photocells, in laser printers and photocopiers, in steels, and in semiconductors.
  • There are six natural isotopes of selenium. One is radioactive, while the other five are steady. Nevertheless, the half-life of the unsteady isotope is so long that it is essentially stable. Another 23 unsteady isotopes have been produced.
  • Some plants require high levels of selenium to endure, so the presence of those plants means the soil is rich in the component.
  • Liquid selenium exhibits exceptionally high surface area tension.
  • Selenium is very important to several enzymes, consisting of antioxidant enzymes glutathione peroxidase and thioredoxin reductase and the deiodinase enzymes that convert thyroid hormones into other forms.
  • Roughly 2,000 lots of selenium are extracted every year worldwide.
  • Selenium is most frequently produced as a byproduct of copper refining.
  • The aspect was included in the films “Ghostbusters” and “Development.” [5]

Chemical value of selenium

Selenium is an element present in the periodic table of all the existing components discovered by humans. The different chemical and elemental properties of selenium are discussed below.

Selenium inhabits the 34th element in the table of elements. This likewise suggests that the atomic number of selenium is 34.

Like every other aspect on the periodic table, selenium has an atomic symbol, too, which is ‘Se.’ This atomic symbol is utilized when revealing 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 is solid.
  • 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, however just 6 of them are called stable isotopes.
  • Selenium is positioned right below sulfur, and both components share comparable physical in addition to chemical properties.
  • There are numerous allotropes of selenium, but only 3 are well known. The very first one is amorphous selenium, which exists in powder and vitreous or glassy types. While in the former, it is red in color, in the latter stage it is black.
  • Another allotrope of selenium is crystalline hexagonal selenium, which is considered to be the most stable allotropic type of selenium. This allotrope is metallic gray.
  • The third allotrope is crystalline monoclinic selenium, which exists in a crimson color.
  • Selenium is grouped as a chalcogen and is a non-metal.
  • It can be discovered independently in nature, however it is often present as a compound such as zinc selenide or selenium dioxide.
  • It is likewise a part of uncommon minerals like clausthalite.
  • When it is used in chain reactions, selenous acid is an efficient catalyst.
  • Out of all the selenium substances, hydrogen selenide is the most harmful one. It exists in gaseous type.
  • Taking selenium supplements when it is already present in high amounts in your natural diet can result in selenium poisoning.

Plants With High Quantities Of Selenium

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

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 impacted by elements such as the pH of the soil.

Veggies such as cauliflower, cabbage, and broccoli also 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 collect the mineral too.

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

Use of selenium supplements

Individuals can get selenium through multivitamins and other dietary supplements. These may consist of the mineral in various forms, consisting of selenomethionine and salt selenate.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020– 2025Trusted Source encourage individuals to get their nutrients from food sources instead of supplements. Consuming a different and healthful diet plan is more vital than concentrating on specific nutrients as the key to good health.

When taking any supplement, it is necessary to acquire it from a trusted source. In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not keep track of supplements for quality, purity, packaging, or strength. [7]

Indications of Selenium Shortage You Might Be Overlooking

Selenium Shortage Symptom: You’re losing your hair

One of the most essential things on selenium’s order of business: help convert your T4 thyroid hormonal agent into the more active type called T3, explains Small. If you run low, you may struggle with signs of hypothyroidism, one of which is loss of hair. “There can be lots of reasons for loss of hair, so it’s your health professional’s task to know what to evaluate for,” says Small.

Selenium Shortage Sign: You’re so exhausted

Another typical hypothyroid sign: tiredness. This might be an outcome of bad selenium levels decreasing your thyroid. “We wish to knock out the apparent way of life factors before taking a look at selenium,” states Small. That may be making sure that your diet has sufficient levels of carbs, protein, and fat, looking for a vitamin D deficiency, or evaluating iron levels. Then, make sure to follow these healthy habits for your thyroid.

Selenium Shortage Symptom: You’re gaining weight

When you experience unwanted weight gain, you’ll want to get to the source. Once again, your thyroid’s thirst for selenium may contribute, and fixing that insufficiency can assist your thyroid get back online. Although Little first take a look at diet when a client is putting on weight, she will consider screening selenium levels down the line. To learn why you’re packing on the pounds, think about these surprising reasons for weight gain.

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

Selenium is needed to form selenoproteins, states Small, including glutathione peroxidase: “It is among the body’s main ways to take hazardous contaminants and turn them into harmless byproducts,” she states. “Deficiencies in this can lead to quite major health consequences,” she notes.

Selenium Shortage Sign: You might be at a greater danger for certain cancers

You’re probably up for doing whatever you can to prevent cancer– and keeping optimal levels of selenium may reshuffle the deck in your favor. In a 2014 Cochrane Evaluation, scientists evaluated 55 observational studies to take a look at the link between selenium and cancer. They discovered a 31 percent lower danger of cancer connected with higher selenium exposure, particularly with stomach, bladder, and prostate cancer. But other trials stopped working to show a take advantage of selenium. Without concrete proof, the authors conclude that supplements most likely aren’t the response. Instead, concentrate on the foods you can eat that will supply a series of health benefits, including selenium-rich foods like asparagus, broccoli, and mushrooms. And while you’re at it, you may want to prevent these 10 unexpected things that can cause cancer.

Selenium Deficiency Sign: You’re sick all the time

Initially, make certain you’re cleaning your hands regularly, you got the flu shot, and you’re sleeping long enough and peacefully (try these 13 secrets from sleep doctors). But you’re refraining from doing yourself any prefers if your selenium levels are low. “Without the ability to sufficiently make glutathione peroxidase, your body immune system can’t function effectively, and you might find you’re sick regularly,” says Small.

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

Selenium is an effective disease-fighting anti-oxidant. “Oxidative tension causes damage to cells throughout your body. Whenever you can secure your cells from oxidative tension is a good thing,” says Small. Discover go-to methods to simmer down in the moment, sleep enough to assist your body recover, and eat well– consisting of getting adequate selenium in your diet.

Selenium Shortage Symptom: You have shortness of breath

Those selenoproteins have another important job: to safeguard your heart. A man who had Crohn’s illness stated his case: He experienced swollen legs and shortness of breath and it was later on discovered that he had a selenium shortage that caused his cardiac arrest. However the jury is still out on supplements: Although low selenium levels have been connected with a higher danger of heart disease, specialists think twice to recommend taking selenium tablets. Rather, adhere to a healthy, selenium-rich diet plan. [8]

Selenium negative effects

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

Long term use of high selenium doses can lead to unsafe side effects. Stop taking selenium and call your doctor simultaneously if you have:.

  • queasiness, throwing up;
  • absence of energy, feeling irritable or extremely tired
  • loss of hair, moderate rash, breakable or uncomfortable fingernails, or white streaks on the nails;
  • tremors, feeling light-headed;
  • muscle tenderness;
  • flushing (heat, inflammation, or tingly sensation);
  • metallic taste, foul breath, strong body smell; or
  • easy bruising or bleeding. [9]

Before Using


Inform your medical professional if you have ever had any uncommon or allergic reaction to medications in this group or any other medications. Likewise inform your healthcare expert if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription items, checked out the label or package ingredients carefully.


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


Issues in older adults have not been reported with consumption of typical daily advised quantities.


It is particularly important that you are getting enough vitamins and minerals when you become pregnant and that you continue to receive the correct amount of vitamins and minerals throughout your pregnancy. The healthy growth and advancement of the fetus depend upon a steady supply of nutrients from the mother. However, taking big quantities of a dietary supplement in pregnancy might be damaging to the mom and/or fetus and ought to be prevented.

Research studies in animals have shown that selenium triggers birth defects when given in big doses.


It is necessary that you get the right amounts of minerals and vitamins so that your child will likewise get the vitamins and minerals required to grow appropriately. Nevertheless, taking big amounts of a dietary supplement while breast-feeding may be harmful to the mother and/or infant and need to be prevented.

Drug Interactions

Although specific medicines must not be used together at all, in other cases 2 various medications might be utilized together even if an interaction might happen. In these cases, your medical professional may wish to alter the dosage, or other precautions might be necessary. When you are taking any of these medications, it is especially essential that your health care professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have actually been picked on the basis of their prospective significance and are not always complete.

Utilizing medicines in this class with any of the following medications is usually not advised, however might be required sometimes. If both medicines are recommended together, your doctor might change the dose or how often you utilize one or both of the medicines.

Other Interactions

Certain medicines need to not be used at or around the time of consuming food or eating certain types of food given that interactions may take place. Utilizing alcohol or tobacco with particular medicines might also trigger interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare expert using your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.

Other Medical Issues

The presence of other medical issues may impact using medications in this class. Ensure you inform your physician if you have any other medical problems, particularly:.

Kidney problems or.

Stomach problems– These conditions might trigger higher blood levels of selenium, which might increase the chance of undesirable results.


The dosage medicines in this class will be different for different clients. Follow your doctor’s orders or the directions on the label. The following details consists of just the average dosages of these medicines. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your medical professional informs you to do so.

The amount of medication that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the variety of dosages you take every day, the time enabled between dosages, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medication.

For selenium:.

For oral dosage type (tablets):.

To prevent shortage, the quantity is based on regular day-to-day advised consumption:.

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

To deal with deficiency:

Grownups, teenagers, and children– Treatment dosage is identified by prescriber for each private based on intensity of shortage.

Missed out on Dose

If you miss out on a dosage of this medicine, take it as soon as possible. Nevertheless, if it is practically time for your next dose, 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 space temperature, far from heat, wetness, and direct light. Do not cool. Keep from freezing.
  • Do not keep outdated medication or medication no longer required. [10]


Selenium is an effective mineral that is essential for the proper functioning of your body.

It plays a critical role in metabolism and thyroid function and assists safeguard your body from damage triggered by oxidative stress.

What’s more, selenium might assist enhance your body immune system, slow age-related mental decrease, and even decrease your danger of cardiovascular disease.

This micronutrient can be discovered in a wide range of foods, from oysters to mushrooms to Brazil nuts.

Including more selenium-rich foods to your diet is an outstanding way to preserve good health. [11]


Our Score
Previous Story


Next Story


Latest from Blog