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What Does Selenium Do?
- Acting as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme glutathione peroxidase
- Stimulating immune function
- Ensuring proper function of the thyroid gland
- Aiding cell growth
How Much Should I Take?
Recommended Dietary Allowance
Adequate Intake (AI) = 15
AI = 15
AI = 20
AI = 20
|14 years and older||55||55|
What If I Do Not Get Enough Selenium?
- Enlarged heart
- Heart disease
- Bones and joints disease
- Altered thyroid function
- Intellectual disability
- Weak immune system
- People living in areas where the soil is very low in selenium, such as parts of China and Russia
- People with gastrointestinal disorders, such as Crohn's disease , that may decrease absorption of selenium
- People receiving total parenteral nutrition (TPN); however these people now routinely receive selenium supplementation
Can Too Much Selenium Be Toxic?
- Garlicky breath
- Hair loss
- General weakness
- Stomach upset
- White, blotchy nails
- Mild nerve damage
Where Can I Find Selenium?
- Brazil nuts (from selenium-rich soil)
- Crab meat
- Noodles, enriched
- Rice, brown
- Chicken, pork, and beef
- Whole wheat bread
How Can Selenium Affect My Health?
Tips for Increasing Your Selenium Intake
- For a simple lunch, open a can of tuna or salmon and make a sandwich on whole wheat bread.
- Choose fish or seafood for dinner 2-3 times per week.
- Choose lean meats for entrees.
- Select a breakfast cereal that is rich in nutrients. Check the nutrition facts label on the side.
- Choose brown rice over white, and whole wheat or rye bread over white.
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics http://www.eatright.org
United States Department of Agriculture http://www.usda.gov/
Canadian Cancer Society http://www.cancer.ca/
Dietitians of Canada http://www.dietitians.ca/
Dietary supplement fact sheet: selenium. Office of Dietary Supplements. National Institutes of Health. National Institutes of Health website. Available at: http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/selenium.asp . Accessed September 19, 2012.
Duyff RL. The American Dietetic Association's Complete Food & Nutrition Guide . 3rd ed. John Wiley and Sons, Inc.: Hoboken, NJ; 2006.
Garrison Jr R, Somer E. The Nutrition Desk Reference . 3rd ed. Keats Publishing: New Canaan, CT; 1995.
Selenium. EBSCO Natural and Alternative Treatments website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/biomedical-libraries/natural-alternative-treatments. Updated July 2012. Accessed September 19, 2012.
Selenium. Oregon State University Linus Pauling Institute website. Available at: http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/minerals/selenium/index.html#function. Updated January 22, 2009. Accessed September 19, 2102.
Wardlaw GM, Insel PM. Perspectives in Nutrition . 2nd ed. Mosby: Philadelphia, PA; 1993.
1/13/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance : Lippman SM, Klein EA, Goodman PJ, et al. Effect of selenium and vitamin E on risk of prostate cancer and other cancers: the Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial (SELECT). JAMA. 2009;301:39-51. Epub 2008 Dec 9.
- Reviewer: Brian Randall, MD
- Review Date: 09/2012
- Update Date: 09/19/2012