Selenium Requirement


Signs, symptoms & indicators of Selenium Requirement

Symptoms - Allergy  

Allergies to particular chemicals


Allergies to certain foods

Symptoms - Head - Mouth/Oral  

Metallic taste in mouth

Symptoms - Metabolic  

Frequent colds/flus

Symptoms - Nervous  

Numb/tingling/burning extremities

Conditions that suggest Selenium Requirement




In one investigation, patients with long term low levels of selenium who had arrhythmias and other cardiac disorders showed significant improvement (and in one case the arrhythmia “disappeared dramatically”) after supplementing with selenium.

The Immune System  

AIDS / Risk

Selenium deficiency is an independent factor associated with high mortality among HIV-positive people. HIV-positive people who took selenium supplements experienced fewer infections, better intestinal function, improved appetite, and improved heart function (which had been impaired by the disease) than those who did not take the supplements (400mcg per day). [Biol Trace Elem Res 1989;25: pp.89–96] Blood levels of selenium are frequently low in people with HIV infection.



Organ Health  


Selenium is essential for healthy immune functioning. A large-scale study has shown that selenium supplementation reduces the incidence of viral hepatitis in selenium-deficient populations, presumably by enhancing immune function. [Yu S-Y, Li W-G, Zhu Y-J, et al. Chemoprevention trial of human hepatitis with selenium supplementation in China. Biol Trace Element Res 1989;20: pp.15-20]



Dietary consumption of apples and selenium intake (assessed by food frequency questionnaire) were each associated with a reduced risk of asthma in an English study of adults. [Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2001;164(10): pp.1823-1828]

Tumors, Malignant  

Leukemia, Chronic Lymphocytic (CLL)

In evaluating 59 patients with lymphoid malignancies such as Hodgkin’s disease, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, multiple myeloma and chronic lymphocytic leukemia, serum selenium concentrations were significantly lower in patients than in controls. Clinical stage was inversely associated with selenium levels.


Ovarian Cancer

20,305 American women were followed prospectively for 20 years. Initial serum selenium levels were found to be inversely related to the risk of ovarian cancer. [J Natl Cancer Inst 88(1): pp.32-7, 1996]

Risk factors for Selenium Requirement


History of Osgood-Schlatter disease


Birth Control Pill / Contraceptive Issues

Selenium absorption may be reduced by the use of oral contraceptives.

Supplements and Medications  

Vitamin C supplementation

The availability of selenium for absorption was reduced almost to zero when sodium selenite (a common form of selenium) and 1gm ascorbic acid were taken together well before any meal. [N Z Med J 98(784): pp.627-9, Aug 14, 1985]

Counter Indicators
Supplements and Medications  

Selenium supplementation

Symptoms - Food - Intake  

Frequent/daily oat use

Symptoms - Gas-Int - General  

Having had a small bowel resection

Extensive small intestinal resection patients are at risk for developing selenium deficiency due to impaired absorptive capacity.

Selenium Requirement can lead to



It’s been observed that geographical regions with low selenium levels in the soil and less sunshine have higher rates of schizophrenia. Since some prostaglandins require selenium for their synthesis, it’s believed prostaglandin deficiency may be a contributing factor in schizophrenia diagnoses.


Tumors, Malignant  

Ovarian Cancer

20,305 American women were followed prospectively for 20 years. Initial serum selenium levels were found to be inversely related to the risk of ovarian cancer. [J Natl Cancer Inst 88(1): pp.32-7, 1996]

Recommendations for Selenium Requirement



Weak or unproven link
Strong or generally accepted link
Proven definite or direct link
Strongly counter-indicative
Very strongly or absolutely counter-indicative
Highly recommended



An essential element involved primarily in enzymes that are antioxidants. Three selenium- containing enzymes are antioxidant peroxidases and a fourth selenium-containing enzyme is involved in thyroid hormone production. The prostate contains a selenium-containing protein and semen contains relatively large amounts of selenium. Clinical studies show that selenium is important in lowering the risk of several types of cancers. In combination with Vitamin E, selenium aids the production of antibodies and helps maintain a healthy heart. It also aids in the function of the pancreas, provides elasticity to tissues and helps cells defend themselves against damage from oxidation.


A condition caused by variation in the regular rhythm of the heartbeat. Arrhythmias may cause serious conditions such as shock and congestive heart failure, or even death.


Pertaining to the heart, also, pertaining to the stomach area adjacent to the esophagus.


(mcg): 1/1,000 of a milligram in weight.


Abbreviation for human immunodeficiency virus, a retrovirus associated with onset of advanced immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).


Inflammation of the liver usually resulting in jaundice (yellowing of the skin), loss of appetite, stomach discomfort, abnormal liver function, clay-colored stools, and dark urine. May be caused by a bacterial or viral infection, parasitic infestation, alcohol, drugs, toxins or transfusion of incompatible blood. Can be life-threatening. Severe hepatitis may lead to cirrhosis and chronic liver dysfunction.

Trace Element

Essential mineral that is essential to nutrition. Nutritionists prefer to call minerals either minerals or trace minerals depending on the amount needed by the body, while analytical chemists prefer to call minerals, trace elements.


A lung disorder marked by attacks of breathing difficulty, wheezing, coughing, and thick mucus coming from the lungs. The episodes may be triggered by breathing foreign substances (allergens) or pollutants, infection, vigorous exercise, or emotional stress.

Hodgkin's Disease

Cancer of the lymphatic system and lymph nodes.


Any tumor of the lymphatic tissues.


Usually Chronic illness: Illness extending over a long period of time.


Cancer of the lymph glands and bone marrow resulting in overproduction of white blood cells (related to Hodgkin's disease).


The cell-free fluid of the bloodstream. It appears in a test tube after the blood clots and is often used in expressions relating to the levels of certain compounds in the blood stream.


Refers to the various types of malignant neoplasms that contain cells growing out of control and invading adjacent tissues, which may metastasize to distant tissues.


An essential mineral that our bodies regulate and conserve. Excess sodium retention increases the fluid volume (edema) and low sodium leads to less fluid and relative dehydration. The adult body averages a total content of over 100 grams of sodium, of which a surprising one-third is in bone. A small amount of sodium does get into cell interiors, but this represents only about ten percent of the body content. The remaining 57 percent or so of the body sodium content is in the fluid immediately surrounding the cells, where it is the major cation (positive ion). The role of sodium in the extracellular fluid is maintaining osmotic equilibrium (the proper difference in ions dissolved in the fluids inside and outside the cell) and extracellular fluid volume. Sodium is also involved in nerve impulse transmission, muscle tone and nutrient transport. All of these functions are interrelated with potassium.


(gm): A metric unit of weight, there being approximately 28 grams in one ounce.

Vitamin C

Also known as ascorbic acid, Vitamin C is a water-soluble antioxidant vitamin essential to the body's health. When bound to other nutrients, for example calcium, it would be referred to as "calcium ascorbate". As an antioxidant, it inhibits the formation of nitrosamines (a suspected carcinogen). Vitamin C is important for maintenance of bones, teeth, collagen and blood vessels (capillaries), enhances iron absorption and red blood cell formation, helps in the utilization of carbohydrates and synthesis of fats and proteins, aids in fighting bacterial infections, and interacts with other nutrients. It is present in citrus fruits, tomatoes, berries, potatoes and fresh, green leafy vegetables.


Any of a group of psychotic disorders usually characterized by withdrawal from reality, illogical patterns of thinking, delusions, and hallucinations, and accompanied in varying degrees by other emotional, behavioral, or intellectual disturbances. Schizophrenia is associated with dopamine imbalances in the brain and defects of the frontal lobe and is caused by genetic, other biological, and psychosocial factors.


Any of a class of physiologically active substances present in many tissues, with effects such as vasodilation, vasoconstriction, stimulation of the smooth muscles of the bronchus or intestine, uterine stimulation; also involved in pain, inflammation, fever, allergic diarrhea, and dysmenorrhea. A potent hormone -- similar in structure to an unsaturated fatty acid -- that acts in extremely low concentrations on local target organs; first isolated from the prostate.

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