advertisement



Supplements & Herbs


Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

Selenium

selenium brazil nuts

What is selenium?
Selenium is a mineral found in soil, water, and some foods. It is required in trace amounts for normal health, and is an essential element in several metabolic pathways.

Why is selenium necessary?
Selenium has antioxidant properties that help the body prevent cellular damage from free radicals, and one of its most valuable roles is as a cofactor of an important antioxidant enzyme in the body called glutathione peroxidase. Selenium also helps support a strong immune system, regulates thyroid function, and may help reduce the risk of prostate and secondary cancers. It also plays a role in the prevention of cataracts and heart disease.

What are the signs of a deficiency?
In the United States, selenium deficiency is rare, but in areas where the soil concentration of selenium is low, such as in China, deficiencies are more common. A deficiency in selenium can affect thyroid function and lead to diseases such as: Keshan Disease (enlarged heart and poor heart function in children), Kashin-Beck Disease (results in osteoarthropathy), and Myxedematous Endemic Cretinism (results in mental retardation). Symptoms can include muscle weakness and pain.

How much, and what kind, does an adult need?
The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for adults is 80-200 mcgs. For adult females it is 55 mcg; adult males, 70 mcg; for pregnant females, 65 mcg; for lactating females, 75 mcg. Dr. Weil recommends using an organic form of selenium, such as yeast bound selenium or selenomethionine.

How much does a child need?
The U.S. RDA is: infants 0 to 6 months, 10 mcg; 6 to 12 months, 15 mcg; children 1 to 6 years, 20 mcg; 7 to 10 years, 30 mcg; 11-14 years, 45 mcg; and 5-18 years, 50 mcg.

How do you get enough selenium from foods?
Brazil nuts are an abundant source of selenium - one nut provides about 200 mcg (in fact, the NIH warns that Brazil nuts should be eaten "only occasionally" because of their unusually high selenium levels). Other good dietary sources include: brewer's yeast, wheat germ, garlic, grains, sunflower seeds, walnuts, raisins, and shellfish and both fresh- and saltwater fish.

Are there any risks associated with too much selenium?
Selenium toxicity is rare in the U.S., but high blood levels of selenium can result in selenosis, a condition with side effects including gastrointestinal distress, hair loss, white spots on nails, fatigue, and irritability.

Are there any other special considerations?
It is best to take selenium and vitamin E together as they facilitate each other's absorption. Gastrointestinal disorders such as Crohn's disease may block selenium absorption. Avoid taking inorganic forms, such as selenium selenite, which adversely interacts with Vitamin C and other nutrients.


advertisement

Are you getting the supplements you need?
Everyone's dietary needs are different based on a number of factors including lifestyle, diet, medications and more. To find out which supplements are right for you, take the Weil Vitamin Advisor. This 3-step questionnaire requires just minutes to complete, and generates a free, no-obligation vitamin and nutritional supplement recommendation that is personalized to meet your unique nutritional needs.

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Start eating for your health - begin your free trial now.

Dr. Weil's Spontaneous Happiness
Achieve emotional well-being
in just eight weeks!
Start your 10-day free trial now!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Optimum Health Plan
Your 8-week plan to wellness.
Begin your journey today!
 

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe
Wellness Guide

Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet Food Pyramid
Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

Condition Care Guide
Learn about health conditions from acne to vertigo, and Dr. Weil's view of the best treatment options for each.

Healthy Recipes
Discover a treasure trove of healthy, healing foods and creative, delicious ways to prepare them.

Q&A Library
Over 2,000 questions from you
and their corresponding answers
from Dr. Weil.

 
Copyright © 2014 Weil Lifestyle, LLC
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here