Deficiency seems common among people with compromised immune systems or related conditions like auto-immune, IBS, allergies, HIV, Crohn’s disease, Grave’s disease and Hashimoto’s disease.
- Some people have elevated selenium levels, but supplementing helps them feel better
- Instead of testing, I learned the symptoms of low and high selenium and figured out how much my body used or did not use
- People have taken large amounts of selenium without issue, but we want to avoid taking it consistently without knowing if our cells are using it
- Symptoms of low or high selenium levels
- Selenium interacts with iodine, b6, glutathione, thyroid hormones and much more
- Which forms should we aim for
- Why it might be wise to avoid Brazil nuts
Selenium is part of The Iodine Protocol. Dr. Brownstein recommends 200mcg – 400mcg when someone is actively taking 50mg. But most people do not start at 50mg unless they are working with a doctor. I explain below how we may not be able to use much selenium yet, even if we are taking a lot of iodine.
This page is one of my longer write-ups, but this is due to the importance of selenium. I have done my best to keep this page as short as possible while highlighting the important aspects. If you are interested in more info, read Selenium Continued at https://whyiodine.com/selenium-continued
Testing selenium levels
In an attempt to avoid taking too much, a lot of people test selenium levels via either plasma selenium concentration or RBC selenium concentration. There is an issue with this testing though. There is a protein called SEPP which allows selenium to be ‘bioavailable’, meaning it doesn’t really matter what our selenium levels are if we don’t have proper function of this protein. “SEPP1 plasma concentration is the best easily accessible marker of human selenium nutritional status” 1 2
There are a lot of reports of people feeling better and having better progress by supplementing selenium even though their tests indicate higher levels. This is likely due to activating SEPP with enough new selenium.
I did not have the funds to test when I started all of this, and I still don’t test my levels. Instead, I studied the symptoms of high or low selenium and only used small amounts while continuing to pay attention to how I felt. Over time I figured out how much or how little I needed. On average, I take 50mcg or less each day. I tend to take 200mcg once a week or so. I also eat blue corn chips pretty regularly as well as stone-ground mustard. Most seafood is also high in selenium. Sometimes when I feel familiar symptoms of low selenium, I’ll take 1,000mcg or more over the course of a day to get rid of those symptoms.
Are high doses of selenium safe?
I have read about people using upwards of 2,000mcg of selenium several times to increase their levels. This isn’t something that should be done a lot, but it shows that our body seems to be able to tolerate large doses.
The issue we can run into is when we continually take more than our body is able to use. If someone’s metabolism is sluggish enough, even tiny daily doses could eventually cause them to end up with too much selenium. But as we begin balancing other nutrients, like iodine for example, our body’s demand for selenium may increase. This is why I think it’s wise to try various amounts of selenium, or any nutrients we consume, while making note of how we feel with or without it. I cover this topic more on my page whyiodine.com/pulse-dosing
A liquid selenium supplement accidentally contained 200 times the amount of selenium it’s label stated. Of the 200 known cases of accidental overdose due to this product, only 1 person was hospitalized. 3 I bring this up to highlight how we may have to try rather hard to end up with a toxic amount of selenium and many of us may have unwarranted fears of trying extra selenium as we work on rebuilding our metabolism.
- Blindness, Cataracts
- Fibromyalgia, Cystic Fibrosis
- Muscular Dystrophy
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
- ALS, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s
- HIV (AIDS)
- Heart palpitations & irregular heart beat
- Cirrhosis, Pancreatitis
- Infertility, Miscarriages
- Elevated RT3
- Thyroid peroxidase (TPO) antibodies
- Conception issues
- Garlic breath
- Metallic taste
- Hair loss
- Nausea & vomiting
- Brittle nails
- Muscle spasms
Selenium and iodine
Taking iodine usually allows our body to carry out processes that it previously was not able to. As these ‘new’ processes start happening(again), our body is going to require other nutrients to handle byproducts of these new processes as well as toxins that might be knocked loose.
Selenium plays an important part in a handful of metabolic processes and takes on several forms depending which form we consume as well as our levels of various other nutrients. Selenocysteine is decomposed by an enzyme that requires vitamin B6.
Selenium is an important part of vitamin E recycling. If vitamin E is low, selenium has to step up to save our cells from oxidation.
Some glutathione production depends on selenium.
Selenium is part of reducing hydrogen peroxide into water, protecting us from free radical generation.
The activation of thyroid hormone depends on selenium.
Selenium interacts with much, much more.
So which forms do we supplement
Some people have a sensitivity to foods and supplements that contain yeast. Some forms of selenium are made via yeast. 4 Please research further if avoiding yeast sounds important to you.
Food sources of selenium
Food based selenium from INNATE Response
Selenomethionine from Thorne Research
My research and a lot of people’s opinion claim this is the best form of selenium we can supplement with. Most of the time it is not made with yeast, and if it is produced with yeast, it will most likely say “from Selenium-Enriched Yeast”.
The ‘methionine’ part of this form can help most of us get this nutrient through our methylation system, which can be very helpful by itself.
Here is a link to Thorne’s 200mcg x 60 capsules(12,000mcg total) for $10 https://amzn.to/3b1fYDJ
Trace Minerals Complex II
This is a blend of common nutrients used in the processes selenium may allow our body to start carrying out. If we are not getting the extra nutrients of this blend in a multi or protein shake, this complex could be very beneficial vs a solo selenium supplement.
Here is a link to Seeking Health’s Trace Minerals Complex II which contains 200mcg yeast based selenium x 30 capsules(6,000 total) for $15 which also includes various other important nutrients https://bit.ly/2XyPLI1
Serious detox support
Our main goal with any nutrient is to support our metabolism so our body can tackle whatever is currently most important, which includes detoxing. One of the most important nutrients our body is trying to create, is glutathione. By supplementing glutathione, we can give our body an extra boost that can be extremely beneficial if our levels are low. By using a liposomal form of glutathione, it can be delivered to damaged cells that otherwise would not be able to get their hands on it. And by using a glutathione with important cofactors, we can avoid a situation where glutathione backfires and we assume this important nutrient is not something our body wants. Without B2, selenium, molybdenum, PQQ and phosphatidylchoine, our body may not be able to utilize glutathione properly and we may assume the glutathione itself is the issue, meanwhile our body is most likely in desperate need of the glutathione and the detox its allowing us to carry out. Glutathione’s dependency on selenium just shows how integrated these nutrients are with each other and how important it can be to have enough of each available to our body.
Here is a link to Seeking Health’s Optimal Liposomal Glutathione Plus which contains 50mcg selenium x 30 servings(1,500mcg total) which may or may not be enough selenium depending how much iodine we are consuming https://bit.ly/30BlM45
Say no to Brazil Nuts
Some people use Brazil Nuts for their potential selenium content. There are several issues with this.
Most soils are depleted today, so its hard to know how much selenium will end up in various brands of Brazil Nuts without investigation and possibly testing. So there is a chance the brand we’re eating doesn’t have much selenium.
Digesting nuts is not easy. First we have to chew the nuts into a powder since our digestive system can only access the outside surface of the pieces we chew. Brazil nuts are over 50% fat, so our ability to digest fat most likely has something to do with our ability to get to and use some of the nutrients.
If exposed to enough heat and light or stored long enough, the fat in the nuts can become rancid.
If we can locate fresh mold free Brazil Nuts, and their soil was not depleted, they can be a decent source of: Thiamin, Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Manganese, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Copper, Calcium and Selenium. I still don’t think they are worth the risk of aflatoxin though.
- Selenoprotein P – Expression, Functions, and Roles in Mammals - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2763998/
- Genetic polymorphisms in the human selenoprotein P gene determine the response of selenoprotein markers to selenium supplementation in a gender-specific manner (the SELGEN study) - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17536041/
- Acute Selenium Toxicity Associated With a Dietary Supplement - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3225252/
- Preparation of selenium yeasts I. Preparation of selenium-enriched Saccharomyces cerevisiae - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10836533/