Selenium is a vital mineral antioxidant that works together with Vitamin E. It is found in all the tissues of the body, but is most concentrated in the major organs.

Because of the severe mineral depletion of our soils, it is becoming more difficult to obtain adequate amounts of selenium and other minerals and nutrients from food. Because of this issue and because selenium is such a vital mineral nutrient involved in a large number of bodily processes, it sometimes is a good idea to consider a selenium supplement.

Make sure that your multivitamin has an adequate amount of selenium, vitamin E and other antioxidant nutrients.

The RDA (recommended dietary allowance) for most adults is 55 mcg per day, although an adult intake of 100-200 mcg of selenium per day is recommended by many doctors.

Research has found those given 200 mcg of yeast-based selenium per day for 4.5 years had a 50% drop in the cancer death rate. Studies have also shown that individuals suffering from heart disease respond well to selenium supplementation.


  • Supports the immune system
  • Aids in the production of antibodies
  • Helps maintain a healthy heart
  • Required for pancreatic function
  • Helps maintain tissue elasticity
  • May help to slow down the aging process
  • Protects against cancers
  • Helps prevent arthritis

Symptoms of Deficiency

  • Muscle weakness and discomfort
  • High cholesterol
  • Frequent infections
  • Poor liver and pancreas function
  • Sterility in men

Selenium deficiency has also been linked to increased levels of cancer and heart disease.

Food Sources

  • Meat
  • Seafood
  • Organ meat
  • Chicken
  • Whole grains
  • Seeds
  • Brazil nuts
  • Brewers yeast
  • Brown rice
  • Molasses

Processing and cooking food greatly reduces its selenium content. You can help to increase your selenium intake through food by using fresh whole grains and organically grown vegetables and meats and being careful not to overcook.

For more information on the selenium content of foods you eat frequently, search the USDA food composition database.

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