Selenium is part of The Iodine Protocol. Dr. Brownstein recommends 200mcg – 400mcg when someone is actively taking 50mg, which most people don’t start at.
Selenium is a natural element found in low amounts in the Earth’s crust. 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. Overdose can be common when people have gene expressions or do not methylate well, due to the body not being able to physically process the selenium as part of an important detox phase.
To avoid taking too much, a lot of people test selenium levels via either plasma selenium concentration or RBC selenium concentration. Otherwise we don’t have any idea if we already have high levels of selenium even though we have not been supplementing. I studied the symptoms of high or low selenium and only took small amounts while paying attention to how I felt. Over time I figured out how much or how little I needed. I take 50mcg almost daily or 200mcg 2 to 4 times a month. I also eat blue corn chips pretty regularly.
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 up selenium, reducing existing levels
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. Low glutathione is common when we don’t feel amazing, so this may help explain how some people are high in selenium even when they are not supplementing, then as they begin to supplement with iodine, those numbers may come down. This is also another reason it’s important to supplement with at least small amounts of selenium, because it’s going to be used up as our body starts being able to use more of the iodine we’re getting. 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. Sometimes our levels of selenium can already be high, but taking more selenium allows us to feel better. There is the possibility that our already high levels of selenium are not bio-available, so it’s almost like they don’t exist. It’s possible we may need to continue taking small amounts of new selenium till we are able to break down the old stuck form that’s keeping our levels high. I try to do this with food over time, and take small amounts of supplements. I don’t like to take lots of supplements.
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/
Really technical info about selenium Selenium and selenoproteins: it’s role in regulation of inflammation
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 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