The maximum safe dose of selenium is 400 mcg per day, while the recommended daily intake is only 55 mcg. Too much selenium either from dietary supplements or Brazil nuts may cause side effects!
Health benefits of selenium
Selenium is an essential trace mineral. Our bodies can’t synthesize it. We have to get it from food.
It’s vital for our health. Selenium is key for the proper function of many enzymes, the production of thyroid hormone, weight loss, and DNA synthesis. Also, it has potent antioxidant properties, boosts the immune system, protects from infections, and may reduce the risk of certain cancers.[1,2]
Moreover, both men and women should get high doses of selenium from food or supplements in order to have children. It’s vital for reproduction. Actually, selenium could help increase male fertility and may reduce the risk of miscarriage.
On the other hand, selenium deficiency may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. Also, low levels of selenium could negatively affect the mood.
What’s the recommended daily intake?
The recommended daily intake of selenium is 55 mcg for adults and teenagers. Only pregnant and lactating women need higher dosages of 60 and 70 mcg of selenium a day, respectively. Children need lower doses, depending on their age.
What’s the maximum dose of selenium I can safely take a day?
The maximum safe dose of selenium is 400 mcg for adults and teenagers. Additionally, the maximum safe dosage for kids is 45-280 mcg, depending on their age. These doses stand both for food and supplements.
Side effects of too much selenium
Garlic odor in the breath and a metallic taste in the mouth are the first signs of selenium overconsumption. Moreover, chronic intakes of high doses of selenium may cause adverse effects, such as hair loss, brittle nails, skin rashes, nausea, diarrhea, fatigue, and nervous system abnormalities.
Do supplements have more selenium than the maximum safe dosage?
Most dietary supplements contain up to 200 mcg of selenium per tablet. Hence, they’re pretty safe for long-term consumption.
You can find a wide variety of selenium supplements at best prices on iHerb.
In any case, you should consult your healthcare provider before taking any dietary supplement.
Can I get too much selenium from food?
Healthy people who follow a well-balanced diet are rather unlikely to be deficient in selenium.
There are too many foods high in selenium. Tuna, sardines, red meat, poultry, eggs, brown rice, beans, dairy, whole-bread, and many seeds and nuts are good natural sources.
As a rule of thumb, you can’t exceed the maximum safe daily intake of selenium from food.
Only by consuming too many Brazil nuts, you could easily exceed the maximum safe dose of selenium. Brazil nuts are the richest food in selenium. A big serving (6-8 nuts) contains about 540 mcg of selenium. This amount is higher than the maximum safe dose, and almost 1,000% of the recommended daily intake!
So, you better consume no more than a Brazil nut a day. You’ll get more selenium than you need, without exceeding the maximum safe dose.