January 22, 2018

Selenium: a trace mineral found in some foods and the earth.

A mineral primarily necessary as a cofactor in cellular reactions related to reproduction, hormone synthesis, DNA synthesis and immune function. It specifically helps protect against toxic oxygen radicals and oxidative damage.

I love selenium because it helps to recycle the most important antioxidant/chemical clearance molecule

that we have called glutathione. Without adequate selenium, glutathione levels will drop and you will be much more prone to xenobiotic chemical damage from our chemically polluted world.

Dietary sources of selenium come in two forms, organic and inorganic. The inorganic form is found in the soil while the organic form is produced when plants uptake the inorganic form and convert it. It is stored in our bodies primarily in our muscles.

Food sources are primarily in the fish and animal meats. Brazil nuts are exceptionally high in selenium. Spinach, whole grains and beans are a good source for vegetarians.

Selenium needs are roughly 40-55 mcg daily for teens and adults and less for growing children.

Deficiency states are exceedingly rare in the United States.

Selenium insufficiency is associated with increased risks of cancer especially GI types as it is protective against DNA damage. Low levels of selenium also increase the lipid oxidation events that lead to coronary heart attacks and high blood pressure. Neurocognitive decline in adults is also associated with low selenium.

Selenium is very useful but dangerous in overdose. Selenium toxicity will cause brittle hair and nails, diarrhea and neurological dysfunction. Exercise caution when consuming Brazil nuts that contain high amounts of selenium.

Selenium supplements affect drugs involved in cancer therapy. Consult your pharmacist when using these medicines and taking iron supplements.

Work hard to get adequate selenium through your diet.


Dr. M