The maximum safe dose of selenium is 400 mcg, while the recommended daily dose is only 55 mcg. Selenium overdose may occur due to overconsumption of dietary supplements and even from eating foods rich in selenium, such as Brazil nuts!
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 adequate amounts of selenium from their diet or supplements, in order, to have children. It’s vital for reproduction. Actually, selenium could help increase male fertility, as it’s required for sperm motility. Moreover, it may reduce the risk of miscarriage.
In contrast, 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 upper safe dose for kids is 45-280 mcg, depending on their age.
These doses stand both for food and supplements.
Side effects of exceeding the daily upper dose of 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 exceed the maximum daily safe dose?
Most dietary supplements contain up to 200 mcg of selenium per tablet. Hence, they’re pretty safe for long-term consumption.
In any case, you better consult your physician before taking any supplement.
You can find a wide variety of selenium supplements on Amazon.
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 rich in selenium. Tuna, sardines, red meat, poultry, eggs, brown rice, beans, dairy, whole-bread, and many seeds and nuts are good dietary sources.
As a rule of thumb, you won’t exceed the maximum safe dose from food.
But, if you consume too many Brazil nuts, you could easily exceed the upper safe dose of selenium. In fact, Brazil nuts are the richest food in selenium. A serving (6-8 nuts) contains about 540 mcg of selenium. This dose is higher than the upper safe, and almost 1,000% of the recommended daily dose!
So, you better consume no more than a Brazil nut a day. You’ll get more selenium than you need, without exceeding the upper safe dose.