Selenium is a natural element found in low amounts in the Earth’s crust. Even though our diet is usually void of selenium, deficiency is not very common because some people do not process it well. Deficiency does seem common among people with compromised immune systems and issues that go along with that, which includes auto-immune, IBS, allergies, etc. Selenium deficiency is commonly found when people have HIV, Crohn’s disease, Grave’s disease and Hashimoto’s disease. Overdose can be common when people have gene expressions such as MTHFR due to the body not being able to physically process the selenium as part of an important detox phase.
I feel as though an important aspect to selenium is often overlooked as people focus on how much selenium to get. More importantly to me, is whether my body has the ability to utilize any selenium, whether I already have some on-hand or if I just ate some. I’ll talk about this more in a minute.
Selenium and iodine
Taking iodine usually allows our body to carry out processes it was not able to without iodine. As these ‘new’ processes start happening, our body is going to require other nutrients to handle byproducts of these new processes and toxins that will be knocked loose. Selenium plays an important part in a handful of metabolic processes and takes on several forms depending which form we consume and the levels of various other nutrients. Selenocysteine is decomposed by an enzyme that requires vitamin B6. If vitamin E is low, selenium has to step up and help mitigate oxidation of cell membranes, and is also a big part in the recycling of vitamin E. Some glutathione production relies on selenium to reduce hydrogen peroxide into water, protecting us from free radical generation.
Iodine can use selenium, reducing whatever is on hand
Thyroxine deiodinase are a set of enzymes that play a part in turning thyroid hormones on or off. It also helps convert T4 into T3. This process happens right with glutathione peroxidase, which depends on selenium. So, as iodine becomes available, and more thyroid hormones are being generated as well as T4 converted into T3, more glutathione can be generated, which can start using up more selenium. This might explain how some people are high in selenium even when they are not supplementing. And as they begin to supplement with iodine, those numbers may come down. This is also another reason it’s important to supplement with selenium, because it’s going to be used up. If someone is already high on selenium, they may not need to supplement with more till their body starts using up the excess that was previously unable to be used.
Selenium opened my eyes to something pretty neat
Luckily for me, I have my own bio-reactor with advanced analysis equipment and fancy displays etc. I had no idea how to use it when I got started, but selenium happened to help me figure it out. So I popped a selenium into my bio-reactor(my stomach) and waited for an analysis report. Nothing happened. No burps, no gas, tummy didn’t make a sound and just the same old normal bowel movement the next morning. I tried this a few more times in a few days and then a few weeks, still nothing, no analysis reports. And then a few months later I started realizing some of the symptoms I’d been experiencing might be related to low selenium, so I popped another one.. This time was much different. I instantly burped what tasted like sulfur or egg, which reminded me of the smell and taste of the selenomethionine pills. Then my tummy made all types of noise and my gut started making waves, within less than 5 minutes I was running to the bathroom. This was the first of many times that I took a single dose of a certain nutrient and had to just about instantly purge it. When we are sick or eat something bad, our body uses diarrhea to get the bad stuff out before it can do much damage. The same thing happens if we detox quickly enough.
When we are hydrated and loaded up with 99% of the nutrients our body needs, getting that last nutrient can cause a chain reaction that sends a lot of stuff to the exit doors. No time to go the standard route and pull the water back out of this batch like usual, it’s got to get out now, it’s very toxic. Other then the actual process, this is a wonderful thing though, this is how I finally started doing some incredible healing. Our body is an advanced bio-reactor that just needs the proper nutrients and environment, then it’ll make everything we need.
After it happened a few times, I finally started catching on. When I’m low on selenium, I feel like I’m hungover. Several times, I was actually hungover, but there were a few times I hadn’t touched a beer in a while but noticed the same type of feeling. Not always, but most of these times(including hangovers), as I’d take a 200mcg selenium pill, I would instantly feel better, purge gross stuff and have more energy, better mood and more clarity.
This was the first nutrient I noticed this with, and now I use it to judge anything I take. I started following Dr. Larry Wilson’s Nutritional Balancing program/outline and noticing the same purge situation as I made my way across some more supplements and even foods including just high protein. For more on this type of info, check out my other site SickOfTired.com
How do I know if I am deficient in selenium?
Without some type of testing, usually a selenium serum test, it is pretty hard to say. I assume I am not low on it mainly because I do not have any autoimmune type conditions and consider myself somewhat healthy other than being loaded with the average toxins and parasites. I also add selenium and other nutrients to my garden and eat tons of dark leafy green stuff. I made it about half way into winter(at which point I run out of garden veggies completely) without supplementing any selenium, but I was only taking iodine sporadically and still had access to kale from my greenhouse. I started to notice a somewhat familiar feeling where I almost feel lightheaded but not really and I get a tunnel vision type of feeling. It’s hard to explain but I essentially get pretty light headed randomly and it almost makes me wonder if I am about to pass out for a split second but never to the point I’m scared of what the heck is going on. I’ve felt this way a handful of times, and each time I would finally remember to take selenium, I would instantly feel much better.
This stuff is pretty important, be careful
Going too low most likely starts causing autoimmune type conditions. Going to high gets into weird stuff like hair loss, impaired motor control and garlic breath. Although most people are not deficient of selenium, it’s hard to know where we are on this spectrum. The upper daily recommended is 400mcg per day but I take 200mcg and don’t take it daily. I like to pay attention to how I feel when I take these supplements, so sometimes I’ll take more than recommended, to see if it makes me feel any better, and then I’ll pretty much stop taking it to see if I notice any old symptoms creep up. Over time, I’ll forget to take a supplement for a while and eventually start noticing a symptom, so I take the supplement and now have a better idea how much of it my body needs.
Some signs of selenium toxicity to watch out for https://stopthethyroidmadness.com/selenium/
Technical info about acute toxicity: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3225252/
Dr. Browstein’s iodine protocol recommends taking about 200-400mcg per day. But this is just a generic recommendation. I studied the symptoms of high and low selenium and judged how much I need. After paying attention to how my body responds to different amounts of iodine, I figure I require 200mcg every few days if I were at a steady 50mg of iodine. I tend to take much less iodine though and average about 10mg per day, and sometimes I don’t take any for a while. Lately I take a 200mcg selenium about once a week, sometimes once a month. But I get some from my garden, and blue corn chips, and a high quality protein powder.
I noticed something very interesting with Selenium
This is one of the handful of experiences that caused me to finally catch on to the nutrition balancing-act.
A few years into my healing process with the iodine protocol, I happened to be at a very stressful job that was causing me to drink beer again. I was drinking about 4 beers a day, sometimes more, sometimes less. But I started noticing that I was feeling hungover at work and just wanted to put my head down most of the day, so I cut back on beer and noticed that only 2 beers was making me feel very poorly the next day. Then one day I realized it seemed like my familiar selenium deficiency feeling, and took a co-worker’s 200mcg selenium and instantly felt amazing. About 15 minutes later my stomach started yelling at me and I had to make an odd poo out of no where, which to me means I just process some kinda toxin.
I decided to experiment with this and kept taking 200-600mcg of selenium each day and within a few days I drank 8 beers a few nights in a row and wasn’t getting the slightest bit of hang over feeling. After about 2 weeks, I started to notice a feeling catch up with me again and noticed I wasn’t keeping up on my magnesium, as I took more magnesium, I was actually feeling more hangover feeling the next day, but noticed I seemed to be processing some type of toxin. After doing this for a while, I felt like I had just cleaned out some old type of funk, possibly even funk from the beer I’ve drank in the past. I later realized both the selenium and magnesium were supporting different parts of my methylation system. Selenium was helping me clean out toxins, and magnesium was allowing me to process part of the alcohol into another form that required more processing.
This is another example of how detox most likely works in our body. Once we get enough of the right nutrients, as our body is in the right condition, we poo out bad stuff and feel better. I went over how sulfur and zinc made me go through an awesome detox phase in Low and Slow.
INNATE Response Whole Food Selenium
Some people have a sensitivity to foods and supplements that contain yeast. I am almost positive this brand selenium is Not made with yeast and is one of the best options to start with, but I could be mistaken, please research further if avoiding yeast sounds important to you. This ends up being very expensive in the long run but I think it is important for at least the first month or so. We are not able to absorb things well if our gut is in bad shape, Selenium is important, so having a quality one would be better till we get in better shape.
Selenium can be made with yeast which is potentially dangerous for some people. Most people that have an issue with yeast are already aware, or may become aware if they were to think about it.
Although I love to stick with food based supplements, I also try to get as many high quality forms as I am able to of each nutrient. I use the food based supplements as a base and add the ‘chemical’ forms sometimes to see if I seem to need more of something. Here is a selenomethionine version of selenium https://amzn.to/3b1fYDJ