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Trace minerals or micro-minerals are the nutrients that the human body get from food but, as the name suggests only in a very small amount. Even though trace minerals are required in tiny quantities but they are essential for our good health and overall development. Selenium is one of the essential trace elements.


What Is Selenium

Selenium is an essential trace element for the human body that means the body needs a tiny amount of it. but it can not be produced in our body so that we need to get it from the diet.

It is a nutrient that plays a crucial role to boost your immunity by reducing the inflammatory and pain-causing substances and helping to maintain thyroid hormone metabolism.

Dietary Sources Of Selenium

Selenium is naturally present in both kinds of food, plant and animal food. It’s amount can vary in the plant base sources as it is considerably affected by the selenium concentration of that specific region of soil. Some rich sources include:

  • Brazil Nuts
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Fortified Cereals
  • Beans, Lentils
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Shiitake Mushrooms
  • Brown Rice
  • Banana
  • Garlic
Daily Recommendation

Advised safe Selenium intake (mcg/day) for different age groups is:

Age Recommended Daily
Amount Of Selenium
< 6 months 10 to 40
6-12 months 20 to 60
1-3 years 20 to 80
4-6 years 30 to 120
7-18 years 50 to 150
> 18 years 100 to 200

It is advised to stay close to the recommended amount and never exceed the upper limit of 400mg/day.

For instance, eating too many Brazil nuts may cause selenium toxicity as they have a very high amount of selenium. Children between 7-18 years of age are suggested to have 1 Brazil nut on an alternate day, while adults may have 2 brazil nut per day.

If someone on many medications then there could be absorption issue and also decreases with ageing, so it is recommended to check occasionally serum selenium level in blood (optimal: 80th percentile of lab range)

Health Benefits Of Selenium

Selenium is an amazing element that shows some essential health benefits:

  • It acts as a significant antioxidant that fights against oxidative stress and supports your body from chronic diseases.
  • It is an important element for the proper functioning of the body’s immune system.
  • It helps in reducing inflammation in the body and it may beneficial for people with asthma conditions.
  • It plays an important role in balancing healthy thyroid functions as selenium helps in converting the thyroid hormone, T4 into T3 in the body.
  • Selenium supplements may help in Hashimoto’s disease.
  • A selenium-rich diet may lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Consuming high-selenium food protect against cardiovascular disease
  • It is found that selenium plays a key role in DNA repair that means It may fight against certain cancer.
  • It may also help during pregnancy and lower the risk of miscarriage.
  • Because it helps in boosting immunity, Selenium prevents HIV from developing into AIDS.
Selenium Deficiency

Selenium deficiency may lead to many diseases, some including:

  • Heart Disease
  • Muscular Degeneration
  • Cataracts
  • Poor Immunity
  • Frequent Infections
Excessive Intake Of Selenium Can be Dangerous

Although selenium is an essential trace- mineral, however, its overdose can be toxic or even fatal sometimes. Selenium toxicity is rare, especially through food, It may possibly be from taking the supplement.

In extreme conditions, selenium overdose may cause kidney failure, cardiac failure, intestinal disorder, neurological disorder, and even death.

Symptoms of selenium overdose are:
  • Brittle nails
  • Hair loss
  • Skin rashes
  • Bad breath smelling like garlic
  • Nausea
  • Tooth decaying
  • Fatigue


Selenium is an important trace mineral that helps in various processes in the human body. For example, it supports cardiovascular health, thyroid function etc.

The daily recommended amount of selenium may vary according to your age, this less known but amazing nutrient is present in many foods but keep checking the amount you are having because an overdose of selenium may lead to some serious health issues.