Selenium is involved in certain enzymatic reactions and is essential to the proper functioning of the thyroid gland. Its strong antioxidant effect protects cell membranes and helps neutralize toxic substances.
It also controls the use of vitamin C and can replace vitamin E in some of its functions.
Selenium may help protect against cancer, heart disease, arthritis and AIDS.
Brazil nuts are a major source of selenium since only one nut is enough to meet the daily requirement.
Other foods that are rich in selenium are seafood, organ meats, meats, poultry, fish, whole grains, dairy products and eggs.
The amount of selenium in foods is based on whether or not they are grown in selenium-rich soil.
|Approximate selenium content|
Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA)
Recommended average daily nutrient intake that is sufficient to meet the nutrient requirements of nearly all (97 to 98%) healthy individuals in each age and gender group. The RDA should only be used as a guide for daily individual intake.
The average Canadian's intake is about 200 mcg per day.
Selenium deficiency is rare. It can cause a weakened immune system, heart disease, nail discoloration and muscle weakness.
Too much selenium can damage, rather than protect, the cells. The maximum safe dose is 400 mcg per day.
Toxicity is characterized by neurological disorders, tooth decay, skin inflammation, diarrhea, fatigue, irritability, garlic breath, nausea, vomiting and loss of hair, nails and teeth.
Supplements are not recommended as they can be toxic and daily intake is easily reached through food. Doses that exceed 200 mcg per day should be avoided and are not recommended.
Watch what you eat. Nutrition has a significant impact on health!
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The patient information leaflets are provided by Vigilance Santé Inc. This content is for information purposes only and does not in any manner whatsoever replace the opinion or advice of your health care professional. Always consult a health care professional before making a decision about your medication or treatment.