Selenium Revamped; Dr. Axe Says It Good, My Toxicology Student & The Online World Thinks Otherwise

Selenium is a trace mineral that is essential to good health in small amounts. Higher selenium intake or status (levels in the blood) have been demonstrated to improve male fertility, provide some protection against bladder, lung, colorectal system, and prostate cancer, and have antiviral effects. Low selenium intake or status as been associated with increased risk of poor immune function, cognitive decline, and death.

However, evidence indicates that this mineral has a limited therapeutic range and that high levels of selenium may have detrimental effects, such increasing the risk of type 2 diabetes. – Grace Rattue former employee for medical news today.

I tried looking for this particular individual so she could elaborate on how something could be extremely beneficial, yet give you diabetes…and she’s nowhere to be found (article she wrote five years ago) for commenting.  Interesting.

Let’s look further into more comments.

What are the risks of taking selenium?

  • Side effects. Taken at normal doses, selenium does not usually have side effects. An overdose of selenium may cause bad breath, fever, and nausea, as well as liver, kidney and heart problems and other symptoms. At high enough levels, selenium could cause death.
  • Interactions. Selenium may also interact with other medicines and supplements, such as antacids, chemotherapy drugs, corticosteroids, niacin, cholesterol-lowering statin drugs, and birth control pills.
  • Skin cancer. Selenium supplements are associated with a risk of skin cancer (squamous cell carcinoma), so people at high risk of skin cancer should not take these supplements.
  • Prostate Cancer.  A study by the National Cancer Institute shows that men who already have high concentrations of selenium in their bodies nearly double their risk of aggressive prostate cancer if they take selenium supplements.
  • Diabetes. One study found that people who took 200 micrograms a day of selenium were 50% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. So far, it’s unknown if the selenium actually caused the disease. Discuss the risk with your doctor.

Ok, wait. says it could increase prostate cancer risk and Grace said otherwise.  How could something such as selenium be so beneficial, yet so harmful?  I’ve already written a blog about Dr. Axe’s Selenium Rich Foods and he says nothing in regards to having too much selenium.

What’s happening here is this is how terrifying the internet is.  When I’m sick, apparently I have cancer – according to the internet.  The articles, websites, and lunacy on the net can drive people to sheer insanity; therefore, be very wary and careful when looking up information.

What does the above tell you? Maybe webmd is full of it, or maybe Grace lost her job because she wasn’t 100% factual in her article.  Either or….selenium is something that helps us, and using anything excessively, including water, could kill you.  Water intoxication is what it’s called.  Just follow the below chart to track your selenium and you’ll be good…courtesy to Dr. Axe.

The recommended daily allowance for selenium depends on your age and is as follows, according to the USDA:

  • Children 1-3: 20 micrograms/day
  • Children 4-8: 30 micrograms/day
  • Children 9-13: 40 micrograms/day
  • Adults and children 14 and up: 55 micrograms/day
  • Pregnant women: 60 micrograms/day
  • Breastfeeding women: 70 micrograms/day

Best Sources of Selenium

Here are the top 11 foods naturally high in trace mineral selenium (percentages based on RDA of 55 mcg/day for adults):

1. Brazil Nuts

1 cup: 607 mcg (1,103% DV)

2. Eggs

1 medium egg: 146 mcg (265% DV)

3. Sunflower Seeds

1 cup: 105 mcg (190% DV)

4. Liver (from lamb for beef)

3 oz: 99 mcg (180% DV)

5. Rockfish

3 oz: 64 mcg (116% DV)

6. Tuna

3 oz: 64 mcg (116% DV)

7. Herring Fish

3 oz: 39 mcg (71% DV)

8. Chicken Breast

3 oz: 33.2 mcg (58% DV)

9. Salmon

3 oz: 31 mcg (56% DV)

10. Turkey

3 oz: 25 mcg (45% DV)

11. Chia Seeds

1 oz: 15.6 mcg (28% DV)

12. Mushrooms

1 cup mixed: 15 mcg (27% DV)

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