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Off grid health with Selenium supplements

October 18, 2015

This is a report generated by “Silas Longshot” author of SURVIVING URBAN CRISIS for personal use and general knowledge of useful information during a ‘crisis situation’ when doctors and typical medical supplies may be limited or nonexistent. or if one desires to just be ‘off grid’ and self reliant.. In no way do I pretend to be any kind of medical ‘expert’. This report is for general purpose knowledge and as been compiled from common sources of information available from the internet. Quotes or sources are hyper-linked and are highlighted and underlined.

Today’s discussion will cover the mineral supplement “SELENIUM” .

Selenium is a trace element that is naturally present in many foods, added to others, and available as a dietary supplement. Selenium, which is nutritionally essential for humans, is a constituent of more than two dozen selenoproteins that play critical roles in reproduction, thyroid hormone metabolism, DNA synthesis, and protection from oxidative damage and infection

Dietary Supplements

Selenium is available in multivitamin/multimineral supplements and as a stand-alone supplement, often in the forms of selenomethionine or of selenium-enriched yeast (grown in a high-selenium medium) or as sodium selenite or sodium selenate [2,5,6]. The human body absorbs more than 90% of selenomethionine but only about 50% of selenium from selenite [6

Groups at Risk of Selenium Inadequacy

Selenium deficiency is very rare in the United States and Canada, and selenium deficiency in isolation rarely causes overt illness [6]. The following groups are among those most likely to have inadequate intakes of selenium.

People living in selenium-deficient regions

Selenium intakes in North America, even in low-selenium regions, are well above the RDA

People undergoing kidney dialysis

Selenium levels are significantly lower in patients undergoing long-term hemodialysis than in healthy individuals. Hemodialysis removes some selenium from the blood [23].

People living with HIV

Selenium levels are often low in people living with HIV, possibly because of inadequate intakes (especially in developing countries), excessive losses due to diarrhea, and malabsorption [2,24]. Observational studies have found an association between lower selenium concentrations in people with HIV and an increased risk of cardiomyopathy, death, and, in pregnant women, HIV transmission to offspring and early death of offspring [25-29].

Selenium and Health


Because of its effects on DNA repair, apoptosis, and the endocrine and immune systems as well as other mechanisms, including its antioxidant properties, selenium might play a role in the prevention of cancer [2,9,34,35].


Arthritis sufferers have a similar problem. Most arthritis patients have low levels of Selenium, resulting in a weaker immune system which can trigger arthritic symptoms.

Cardiovascular disease

Selenoproteins help prevent the oxidative modification of lipids, reducing inflammation and preventing platelets from aggregating [9]. For these reasons, experts have suggested that selenium supplements could reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease or deaths associated with cardiovascular disease.



Getting off our couches and DOING SOMETHING will also help a lot towards cardio health. Put down the remote and walk around the block, if nothing else.

Cognitive decline

Serum selenium concentrations decline with age. Marginal or deficient selenium concentrations might be associated with age-related declines in brain function, possibly due to decreases in selenium’s antioxidant activity [52,53].

Thyroid disease

Selenium concentration is higher in the thyroid gland than in any other organ in the body, and, like iodine, selenium has important functions in thyroid hormone synthesis and metabolism.

Health Risks from Excessive Selenium

Chronically high intakes of the organic and inorganic forms of selenium have similar effects [6]. Early indicators of excess intake are a garlic odor in the breath and a metallic taste in the mouth. The most common clinical signs of chronically high selenium intakes, or selenosis, are hair and nail loss or brittleness. Other symptoms include lesions of the skin and nervous system, nausea, diarrhea, skin rashes, mottled teeth, fatigue, irritability, and nervous system abnormalities.

The following section covering interactions is from:

SELENIUM Interactions

Be cautious with this combination – moderate interaction:

  • Medications that slow blood clotting (Anticoagulant / Antiplatelet drugs) interacts with SELENIUM

Selenium might slow blood clotting. Taking selenium along with medications that also slow clotting might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding.

Some medications that slow blood clotting include aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), dalteparin (Fragmin), enoxaparin (Lovenox), heparin, ticlopidine (Ticlid), warfarin (Coumadin), and others.

  • Medications used for lowering cholesterol (Statins) interacts with SELENIUM

Taking selenium, beta-carotene, vitamin C, and vitamin E together might decrease the effectiveness of some medications used for lowering cholesterol. It is not known if selenium alone decreases the effectiveness of some medications used for lowering cholesterol.

Some medications used for lowering cholesterol include atorvastatin (Lipitor), fluvastatin (Lescol), lovastatin (Mevacor), and pravastatin (Pravachol).

  • Niacin interacts with SELENIUM

Taking selenium along with vitamin E, vitamin C, and beta-carotene might decrease some of the beneficial effects of niacin. Niacin can increase the good cholesterol. Taking selenium along with these other vitamins might decrease the how well niacin works for increasing good cholesterol.

  • Sedative medications (Barbiturates) interacts with SELENIUM

The body breaks down medications to get rid f them. Selenium might slow how fast the body breaks down sedative medications (Barbiturates). Taking selenium with these medications might increase the effects and side effects of these medications.

  • Warfarin (Coumadin) interacts with SELENIUM

Selenium might thin the blood. Selenium might also increase the effects of warfarin in the body. Taking selenium along with warfarin might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding.

Be watchful with this combination – minor interaction:

  • Birth control pills (Contraceptive drugs) interacts with SELENIUM

Some research shows that women who take birth control pills might have increased blood levels of selenium. But other research shows no change in selenium levels in women who take birth control pills. There isn’t enough information to know if there is an important interaction between birth control pills and selenium.

Some birth control pills include ethinyl estradiol and levonorgestrel (Triphasil), ethinyl estradiol and norethindrone (Ortho-Novum 1/35, Ortho-Novum 7/7/7), and others.

  • Gold salts interacts with SELENIUM

Gold salts bind to selenium and decrease selenium in parts of the body. This might decrease the normal activity of selenium, possibly resulting in symptoms of selenium deficiency.

Gold salts include aurothioglucose (Solganal), gold sodium thiomalate (Aurolate), and auranofin (Ridaura).

Table 1: Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for Selenium [6]

Age Male Female Pregnancy Lactation
Birth to 6 months 15 mcg* 15 mcg*
7–12 months 20 mcg* 20 mcg*
1–3 years 20 mcg 20 mcg
4–8 years 30 mcg 30 mcg
9–13 years 40 mcg 40 mcg
14–18 years 55 mcg 55 mcg 60 mcg 70 mcg
19–50 years 55 mcg 55 mcg 60 mcg 70 mcg
51+ years 55 mcg 55 mcg

*Adequate Intake (AI)

Table 2: Selected Food Sources of Selenium [10]
Food Micrograms
(mcg) per
Brazil nuts, 1 ounce (6–8 nuts) 544 777
Tuna, yellowfin, cooked, dry heat, 3 ounces 92 131
Halibut, cooked, dry heat, 3 ounces 47 67
Sardines, canned in oil, drained solids with bone, 3 ounces 45 64
Ham, roasted, 3 ounces 42 60
Shrimp, canned, 3 ounces 40 57
Macaroni, enriched, cooked, 1 cup 37 53
Beef steak, bottom round, roasted, 3 ounces 33 47
Turkey, boneless, roasted, 3 ounces 31 44
Beef liver, pan fried, 3 ounces 28 40
Chicken, light meat, roasted, 3 ounces 22 31
Cottage cheese, 1% milkfat, 1 cup 20 29
Rice, brown, long-grain, cooked, 1 cup 19 27
Beef, ground, 25% fat, broiled, 3 ounces 18 26
Egg, hard-boiled, 1 large 15 21
Puffed wheat ready-to-eat cereal, fortified, 1 cup 15 21
Bread, whole-wheat, 1 slice 13 19
Baked beans, canned, plain or vegetarian, 1 cup 13 19
Oatmeal, regular and quick, unenriched, cooked with water, 1 cup 13 19
Spinach, frozen, boiled, 1 cup 11 16
Milk, 1% fat, 1 cup 8 11
Yogurt, plain, low fat, 1 cup 8 11
Lentils, boiled, 1 cup 6 9
Bread, white, 1 slice 6 9
Spaghetti sauce, marinara, 1 cup 4 6
Cashew nuts, dry roasted, 1 ounce 3 4
Corn flakes, 1 cup 2 3
Green peas, frozen, boiled, 1 cup 2 3
Bananas, sliced, 1 cup 2 3
Potato, baked, flesh and skin, 1 potato 1 1
Peaches, canned in water, solids and liquids, 1 cup 1 1
Carrots, raw, 1 cup 0 0
Lettuce, iceberg, raw, 1 cup 0 0

*DV = Daily Value. DVs were developed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to help consumers compare the nutrient contents of products within the context of a total diet. The DV for selenium is 70 mcg for adults and children aged 4 and older. Foods providing 20% or more of the DV are considered to be high sources of a nutrient. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Nutrient Database Web site [10] lists the nutrient content of many foods and provides a comprehensive list of foods containing selenium arranged by nutrient content and by food name.

Table 3: Tolerable Upper Intake Levels (ULs) for Selenium [6]*
Age Male Female Pregnancy Lactation
Birth to 6 months* 45 mcg 45 mcg
7–12 months 60 mcg 60 mcg
1–3 years 90 mcg 90 mcg
4–8 years 150 mcg 150 mcg
9–13 years 280 mcg 280 mcg
14–18 years 400 mcg 400 mcg 400 mcg 400 mcg
19+ years 400 mcg 400 mcg 400 mcg 400 mcg

*Breast milk, formula, and food should be the only sources of selenium for infants.

Personal note added: One should estimate selenium intake from above food chart information for an ‘average intake’ PLUS THE SUPPLEMENTS consumed!! In other words, the ‘average American diet’ may be close (for some people / conditions) to being adequate (per this government sponsored data) for ‘recommended daily intake’. Doing this may help prevent selenium ‘overdosing’.

NOTE: Any ‘study’ done by any government agency should be suspect until researched all the way back to point of origin for probable association with pharmaceutical companies having influence on the data, biased against natural substances which can’t be patented for profit.

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