Selenium is an important mineral that we need in our diet. It helps with proper thyroid function, infertility, and lowers your risk of developing cancer and autoimmune diseases.
As important as this nutrient is, it becomes toxic if you get too much. Despite the possible side effects, it still makes Bulletproof’s list of 10 Supplements Everyone Needs. Health Canada and Bulletproof recommend low levels, but Bulletproof’s is still 4x higher.
Health Canada’s Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA): 55 μg/day for adults
Bulletproof Recommended Supplement Dose: 200 μg / day
Health Canada set an upper limit of 400 μg / day for adults.
Here’s a look at what Bulletproof has to say about selenium:
Selenium is a heavy metal with numerous beneficial effects on the body. It boosts immune function, prevents cancer, neurodegenerative disease, and protects against thyroid dysfunction. It is possible to get enough selenium from wild caught fish and animal products, but most people don’t. If you can’t find real meat, you should supplement with 200mcg per day. Be careful, too much selenium can cause negative health consequences. Take 200 micrograms, not milligrams.
Dose: 200μg / day
Forms: Se-Methyl Selenocysteine or selenomethionine
Time Taken: Doesn’t matter.
Recommended Brand: Life Extension
Selenium works as an antioxidant to prevent oxidative stress. It helps reduce the number of free radicals in the body that can do serious harm like cancer formation.
Selenium has been shown to reduce the risk of prostate cancer. Not only prostate cancer but because of the reduction of DNA damage and oxidative stress caused by selenium, there is a reduced risk of any form of cancer. Selenium will enter a cell’s nucleus and not only protects it from damage, but it also helps repair any damage. This helps keep them from mutating into cancerous cells.
It’s also important for reproduction. Both men and women have been shown to benefit, but there’s more research about the benefits it has on male fertility. Selenium is needed for sperm motility and may reduce the risk of miscarriage. While selenium has been shown to create healthier sperm, it has also been shown to reduce sperm count, so it is important not to take too much.
One of the great benefits of selenium is that it boosts your immune system and can help protect you from auto-immune diseases. Not only has selenium been shown to help lower your risk of contracting HIV, but it seems to play a key role in slowing down the effects of HIV and the progression to AIDS.
Studies have shown that deficient levels of selenium can lead to an increased risk of heart disease. However, studies have been inconclusive as normal levels of selenium working as a preventative for coronary disease. Like with many vitamins and minerals, the danger lies in deficiency. Outside of dangerous, deficient or toxic states, selenium seems to have no effect on heart disease.
If you have chronic asthma you may be suffering from selenium deficiency. It has been shown to reduce the symptoms of asthma. If you have chronic asthma, talk to your doctor to see if a selenium supplement is right for you.
Selenium is important for thyroid health. That’s why it is often paired with iodine. The thyroid is tied to many bodily functions including sleep, appetite, weight, temperature, and energy levels. This mineral works as the catalyst for the production of active thyroid hormone. It also reduces the risk of autoimmune thyroid disease.
Too much of this mineral can lead to selenium toxicity. According to the National Institutes of Health, “acute selenium toxicity can cause severe gastrointestinal and neurological symptoms, acute respiratory distress syndrome, myocardial infarction, hair loss, muscle tenderness, tremors, lightheadedness, facial flushing, kidney failure, cardiac failure, and, in rare cases, death.”
Supplementing with selenium can be dangerous. We need it in our diet but too much can have negative side effects. It is a trace mineral. We only need a little of this important nutrient. However, studies show that our body flushes it out quickly so you need to get selenium on a regular basis. Talk to your doctor to see if you need more of this mineral in your diet.
Good Whole Food Packed With Selenium
It’s easy to get more than enough of this mineral in your diet through good whole food. Dr Josh Axe has provided a list of 10 foods that are all good sources of selenium:
Selenium toxicity can even occur from eating good whole foods. Therefore be careful about how much high-selenium foods you’re eating. Brazil nuts are a great way to get this nutrient, but eating too many too often can have serious side effects.
Life Extension – Super Selenium Complex
This is the supplement recommended by Bulletproof. It is a mix of three different strands of selenium. It’s also mixed with vitamin E, which has shown to work synergistically with selenium. It does include rice flour, as well as a few other ingredients so read the label before taking.
Disclaimer: We are not medical professionals. Please consult with a doctor before adding/changing your dosage of any supplement in your diet. Take any supplements at your own risk.