Selenium Supplements FAQ
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What is Selenium and Where Does it Come From?
Selenium is a non-metallic element typically found in metal sulfide ores in place of some of the sulfur.
The existence of selenium in its pure elemental form is practically unheard-of on this planet and so it must be refined from other minerals and compounds.
Selenium serves a multitude of industrial purposes and is involved in the production of glass, and electrical goods such as semiconductors and surge protectors.
In the context of health, selenium serves a number of functions within the human body including thyroid function, enzyme production, and antioxidant protection for cells.
Production of Selenium
Selenium is actually created as a byproduct during the refining process of metal sulfide ores.
The manufacturing methods involved in the production and refining of various forms of selenium is far beyond the scope of FAQ, due largely to the fact that most selenium is used for industrial purposes such as those mentioned above.
What Types of Selenium are There?
There are a few different types of selenium available, including Selenium Ascorbate and Selenium Dioxide.
Most forms of selenium appear to offer comparable absorption rates and bioavailability but if you are in doubt due to an existing sensitivity you have to specific compounds then be sure to check the label of any selenium supplement or selenium-containing multivitamin supplement that you purchase.
How Does Selenium Work and What are the Benefits?
Selenium is considered to be an essential nutrient for humans, offering numerous health benefits stop
First and foremost, selenium shares a very close relationship with the thyroid gland and the production and regulation of thyroid hormone.
Acting as a cofactor for thyroid hormone deiodinases, selenium is closely involved in the activation and deactivation thyroid hormones and the regulation of associated enzymes and amino acids.
Put simply, this means that selenium is directly relevant to those of you trying to lose weight or at least practice some weight control because they deficiency may lead to a subsequent downregulation of thyroid hormone production.
More recently selenium has been gaining a great deal of popularity due to its properties as an antioxidant. It acts as a cofactor for antioxidant enzymes that are used to protect the body against the damage caused by free radicals and remove reactive oxygen species such as hydrogen peroxide.
Who Can Benefit from Using Selenium and How?
Apart from its specific application to individuals who are suffering from Hashimoto’s disease, or those who have been exposed to toxic levels of mercury, selenium appears to be a useful nutrient to include in your everyday diet for general health and preventive benefit.
The antioxidant protection provided by selenium combined with its vital role in the production and regulation of thyroid makes it a more than worthwhile supplement to add to your existing regimen.
Of course this begs the question of whether or not a selenium supplement is absolutely necessary to ensure a suitable daily intake; let’s take at some foods which contain selenium so you can see if there are any that you might want to consider adding to your diet.
Do Any Foods Contain Selenium? Which Ones are the best?
Food sources of selenium include:
- Eggs; and
Brazil nuts are well known for being a rich source of selenium; however, it is somewhat dependent upon the selenium levels found in soil so it is best not to rely these nuts as your sole source of selenium.
Does Selenium Have Any Side Effects?
The tolerable the intake level for selenium has been established at 400 µg per day, and it is best not to exceed this due to potential toxic effects known as the selenosis.
Nevertheless, a study conducted in 1992 found the maximum safe daily intake of selenium to be almost double this amount, coming out to around 15 µg per kilogram of body weight.
It is generally advisable to stick to the upper limit of 400 µg per day because even if toxicity does not occur there is a strong possibility that you a developed some imbalances with other nutrients.
As with many other supplements is also a good idea to cycle your selenium intake so that you are not taking a high dose you may be to achieve this by cycling through different multivitamin supplements or occasionally choosing a multivitamin supplement does not contain selenium.
Symptoms associated with excessive consumption of selenium include hair loss, fatigue and irritability, nausea and vomiting, a strange garlic odor, a metallic taste in mouth, muscle tenderness, facial flushing, and many others, so if you experience any of these things you should discontinue use a consult your doctor or physician immediately.
As with any dietary supplement, we recommend that women who are pregnant or breastfeeding consult their doctor or physician prior to use. This also applies to people under the age of 18 and individuals who suffer from pre-existing medical conditions or who are taking any kind of prescription medication.
Note: We recommend speaking to a doctor before taking any supplements.
How and When Should I Use Selenium?
The vast majority of you will probably be sourcing your selenium from a multivitamin supplement, in which case you should refer to the manufacturers guidelines provided whichever product you choose.
The exact timing of selenium supplementation does not appear to be a significant factor; however, it is generally advisable that you take it with food rather than on an empty stomach.
How Much Selenium Should I Take?
Your first port of call should always be to check the usage guidelines provided on any selenium supplement or multivitamin supplement that you use.
The daily recommended dietary allowance of selenium is 55 µg for adults, increasing to between 60 and 70 µg for pregnant and lactating women due to the additional demands based on the mother by the developing infant.
Aside from this, the tolerable upper limit for adults is 400 µg per day, and significantly lower for infants and children.
Choosing the Right Selenium Supplement
Selecting a selenium supplement is fairly easy, especially considering most of you will be using selenium is part of a broader multivitamin formula.
The most important thing to pay attention to when choosing a selenium supplement is that it contains a worthwhile amount that will ensure you are getting as much as you need.
The dosing we have covered above should give you all of the information that you need to ensure your selenium supplement contains a suitable dosage.
Please note: This FAQ has not been written or reviewed by a doctor or medical professional and is therefore not to be used to prevent, diagnose, or treat any disease or illness. Nor should it be used as medical reference.