Formal Name: Selenocysteine
Supplement Forms: Pills, food, liquid

Recommended Daily Allowance

  • Infants: (0 to 12 Months) 15 - 20 mcg/day
  • Children: (1 to 13 Years) 20 - 40 mcg/day
  • Adolescents: (14 to 18 Years) 55 mcg/day
  • Adults: (19 and older) 55 mcg/day
  • Lactating Women: 70 mcg/day
  • Pregnant Women: 60 mcg/day

Notes: mcg stands for micrograms.

Additional Information

Selenium is a micro mineral like chromium and molybdenum that requires daily replenishment via dietary intake. However, the amount needed daily is small enough to be measured in micrograms. An estimated 20-70 micrograms of selenium is needed from daily dietary intake. Selenium is a nutrient derived from the soil, and so its content varies depending on how nutrient rich the soil happens to be. It appears that males have a greater need for this mineral with about half of the selenium content being located in the male reproductive organs, ducts and glands.

Bodily Functions That Selenium Assists In

Selenium works together with vitamin E, C and B3 to prevent damage caused by oxidative stress. As a tandem with iodine, selenium is essential for the thyroid gland to function properly and for it to produce the active form of its hormone. In addition to its antioxidant characteristics against oxidative stress, selenium contributes in preventing and combating various cancers through its influence within the immune system.

Symptoms Of Deficiency:
  • Selenium deficiency is considered to be rare
  • Fatigue
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Decreased mental coordination
  • Contributes to Keshan disease - overall weakness of the heart
  • Contributes to Kashin-Beck's disease - development of stiff, deformed joints
Foods High In Selenium

The best sources of selenium include whole grain cereals, whole wheat breads, fish, eggs, poultry, liver, lean meats and vegetables.

Ailments That Selenium Helps Against:
  • Treats Keshan disease - overall weakness of the heart
  • Treats Kashin-Beck disease - development of stiff, deformed joints
  • Contributes to liver recovery after damage
  • Aids in treating hot flashes and menopausal distress
  • Helps prevent dandruff
  • Helps provide protection against some cancers
Side Effects/Toxicity

The established tolerable upper limit intake level for selenium is 400 mcg per day. Selenium toxicity symptoms are more likely to occur from supplements rather than natural foods. Symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, hair loss and skin lesions.