selenium mineral


Category : Food

Selenium is a trace mineral found in soil, water and some foods. It is an essential element in several metabolic pathways. Selenium appears to promote antioxidant activity in the body via glutathione peroxidase (GPX), a selenium-dependent enzyme. It is taken into the body in water and foods. Most of the selenium in the body comes from the diet. The amount of selenium in food depends on where it is grown or raised. The amount of selenium in soil varies a lot around the world, which means that the foods grown in these soil also have differing selenium levels.

Selenium is important for making many body processes work correctly. It increases the action of antioxidants. Selenium deficiency can occur in areas where soil content of selenium is low and may affect thyroid function and cause conditions such as Keshan disease. Selenium deficiency is also Selenium commonly seen in patients on total parenteral nutrition (TPN) as their sole source of nutrition. Gastrointestinal disorders may decrease the absorption of selenium resulting in depletion or deficiency. Selenium may be destroyed when foods are refined or processed.

Health Benefits

According to a very recent study Selenium is reported to reproduce the same action as produced by insulin in human body. It follows the actions such as stimulating glucose uptake and regulating metabolic processes. It also performs glycolysis, gluconeogenesis, fatty acid synthesis and the pentose phosphate pathway.

For a healthy immune system, selenium is very important. It can improve the immune system by about twenty to thirty times if taken in the right quantity and nature. It is also reported to improve confused and depressed mental states, mental fatigue and anxiety in adult

Selenium is also shown to help reduce the oxidative stress associated with diabetes. It is also postulated that this can further reduce the impact or side effects of diabetes in the form of neuropathy, retinopathy and cataracts. Here is the list of some of the benefits of Selenium:


One of the main activities of this mineral is its anti-aging properties and its ability to help rid the body of free radicals, as well as toxic minerals such as mercury, lead and cadmium.

It works as a potent antioxident. It makes efficient use of oxygen. It gels well with many toxic substances and binds. Once attached, the toxic substances lose their potency and a reduction in toxicity is seen. underway: The SELECT trial is in progress, with a goal to include 32,400 men with serum PSA levels less than or equal to 4ng/mL. SELECT was started in 2001, with results expected in 2013.

Asthma :

Preliminary research reports that selenium supplementation may help improve asthma symptoms. Further research is needed to confirm these results.

Intracranial pressure symptoms:-

Preliminary research shows a decrease of symptoms of elevated intracranial pressure (headaches, nausea,
emesis, vertigo, unsteady gait and speech disorders.

Burns :

Early study results suggest that supplementation with selenium and other traceelements (copper, zinc) may increase the rate healing of burn wound. Additional research is necessary before a clear recommendation can be made.

Chemotherapy side effects :

Study results of selenium supplementation during chemotherapy are mixed. Although general concern has been raised that antioxidants may interfere with radiation therapy or some chemotherapy agents (such as alkylating agents, anthracyclines, or platinums), which themselves can depend on oxidative damage to tumor cells for anticancer activity but it has not yet been accomplished. Therefore, patients undergoing cancer treatment may stop taking selenium during the period of chemo/ radio administration.


Selenium-containing shampoos helps in dandruff a lot. Studies report that seleniumcontaining shampoos may help improve dandruff. Hence there are lot of many anti-dandruff products today which has Selenium.


Selenium supplementation has been studied in HIV/AIDS patients and some reports associate low selenium levels with complications such as cardiomyopathy.

Sunburn prevetion :

Photoprotection was initially observed in preliminary research using selenium supplementation and other antioxidants, although there is some evidence of ineffectiveness in preventing light-induced erythema (skin redness).

Osteoarthritis :

Selenium-ACE, a formulation containing selenium with three vitamins, has been promoted for the treatment of arthritis. Selenium is also used against arthritis and multiple sclerosis and if provided in adequate amounts it is thought to help prevent cancer as well. Tissue elasticity and pancreatic function is also dependant on this mineral. Selenium supplementation has been studied in rheumatoid arthritis patients with mixed results

Adults (18 years and older):

Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for adults (oral): 80-200mcg. Specifically: 55mcg for female adults; 70mcg for male adults; 40-70mcg for adolescent males, 45-55mcg for adolescent females; 65mcg for pregnant females; 75mcg for breastfeeding females.

Maximum Daily Dose (oral): 400mcg per day for those older than 14 years old (including adults and the elderly). However, the dose for patients may vary according to the disease and its longivity.

Children (younger than 18 years):

Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for infants and children (oral): 10mcg for 0-6 months; 15mcg daily for 6-12 months; 20mcg for 1-6 years; 30mcg for 7-10 years; 45 mcg for 11-14 years; 50mcg for 5-18 years. Adequate intake for infants up to 6 months old may be 2.1mcg/kg/day, and for infants 7-12 months may be 2.2mcg/kg/day.

Maximum Daily Dose (oral): 45mcg for 0-6 months; 60mcg for 7-12 months; 90mcg for 1-3 years; 150mcg for 4-8 years; 280mcg for 9-13 years

Best used with:

Selenium should always be taken with Vitamins E, A and beta-carotene and it is preferable when taking a supplement to take selenium in the form of selenocysteine or selenomethionine, which are both organic.

Side effects of Selenium overdose

Although Selenium is considered harmless mineral but still too much of intake can become dangerous. Following are the side effects of selenium.

  1. Irritability
  2. Weigh Loss
  3. Garlic-like odor
  4. Redness on the face
  5. Cardiac Arrest
  6. Metal-like taste in the mouth
  7. Nausea
  8. Vomiting
  9. Hair Loss
  10. Fatigue
  11. Muscle Tenderness
  12. Shakiness
  13. Hair and nail brittleness
  14. Abdominal pain
  15. Allergic reactions

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding:

It is generally believed to be safe during pregnancy and it is also excreted in breastmilk, but is generally believed to be safe to consume during lactation in amounts commonly found in foods.

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