But some health conditions -- such as HIV , Crohn's disease , and others -- are associated with low selenium levels. People who are fed intravenously are also at risk for low selenium.
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Doctors sometimes suggest that people with these conditions use selenium supplements. Selenium has also been studied for the treatment of dozens of conditions. They range from asthma to arthritis to dandruff to infertility. However, the results have been inconclusive. The recommended dietary allowance RDA includes the total amount of selenium you should get from foods and from any supplements you take.
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Most people can get their RDA of selenium from food. In some studies to determine if selenium could aid in prostate cancer prevention , men took micrograms daily. The safe upper limit for selenium is micrograms a day in adults. Fast facts on selenium Here are some key points about selenium. More detail is in the main article. Selenium is a mineral that plays a role in many bodily functions. It may protect against cancer , thyroid problems, cognitive decline, and asthma , but more research is needed. Brazil nuts, some fish, brown rice, and eggs are good sources.
The best source of nutrients is food. Any supplement use should first be discussed with a doctor. Possible health benefits. Recommended intake.
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Selenium in Food and Health
Hair, skin and nail supplements commonly contain selenium in levels as high as micrograms and more. However, too much selenium can lead to a condition called selenosis, which can result in nausea, fatigue, garlic breathe and the loss of hair, skin and nails! In extreme cases, it can result in cirrhosis of the liver, pulmonary oedema and death. Recent evidence suggests too much selenium may also increase cholesterol levels.
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The NHS says that taking micrograms or less a day of selenium supplements is unlikely to cause any harm. However, one study found that micrograms a day of selenium supplements increased the risk of aggressive prostate cancer among men with high selenium levels.
So concerned were the researchers that they stopped the trial three years early. They suggest that men over 55 should avoid taking selenium and vitamin E supplements at doses that exceed the recommended dietary intake.
Another study found that people taking micrograms of selenium a day had a higher risk of non-melanoma skin cancer. These negative effects of supplements appear greatest in those who already have high selenium levels in their blood. The belief that selenium can fight cancer and other diseases has boosted demand for supplements despite a lack of definitive evidence.
A quick search on the internet reveals that many supplements contain micrograms of selenium; you can see how easy it would be to take too much. The best way to get your full range of vitamins and minerals is to eat a healthy, balanced diet with a wide variety of wholegrains, fruit and vegetables. If you are going to take supplements, stick to the recommended intake. Justine Butler is the senior health researcher and writer at Viva!
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