2

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How to tell if I am getting too much selenium?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created August 02, 2012 at 10:26 AM

I've just bought a new magnesium supplement and I only just realised it contains 25mcg of selenium (as selenomethionine). On the bottle it warns that exceeding 150mcg is toxic. I wouldn't have a clue how much, if any selenium I am getting in my diet already. In any case, I'm sure it will vary from day to day not only depending on what I eat, but how rich the soil is in selenium where the food was grown. For example I heard recently that the land in South Australia is so depleted of selenium that the cattle develop conditions brought on the deficiency.

Anyone have some expertise with this stuff?

44348571d9bc70c02ac2975cc500f154

(5853)

on August 03, 2012
at 04:50 AM

100grams have like over 120 mcg selenium

D5cde8031564f905260ce9aa7a1f5e2c

(1170)

on August 02, 2012
at 11:35 PM

A recent study suggests that selenium toxicity from a traditional diet (in this case, brazil nuts) doesn't really happen. Supplements are a different story. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=brazil%20nut%20poisoning%20selenium

81348acb7b886e2b32ca915d250268f3

(1022)

on August 02, 2012
at 11:01 PM

Thanks for this info. I think I'll be more concerned about the number of brazil nuts I eat rather than the supplement. FYI, In Brazil the nuts are called Para Nuts, cos they are grown in the province of Para, on the Amazon Delta, I've been there and I gorged on brazil nuts :P

81348acb7b886e2b32ca915d250268f3

(1022)

on August 02, 2012
at 10:58 PM

I used to eat a lot of Brazil nuts (far more than 2-3 a day, more like a couple of handfulls) as they came in the nut/trail mix I used to buy but now I buy a different mix that does not contain them. These days my main sources (assuming the food is not selenium deficient) are 2x eggs, 2-3x short cut bacon for breaky, I tend to eat a lot of garlic, and obviously red meat. So my guess is I'm probably within limits just on diet, and maybe the extra 25mcg will put me a touch over on a particularly selenium rich day. Cheers for your input.

3b0b95dfc6dc5c18e535945f4aab0866

(2392)

on August 02, 2012
at 05:17 PM

I agree with Paul. 8oz steak = 37mcg, 2 lg egg = 32mcg, 4 sl bacon = 25mcg, 4oz pork = 50mcg. Right there is a decent amount for a day.

93eea7754e6e94b6085dbabbb48c0bb7

on August 02, 2012
at 04:22 PM

Really when did you hear this prairieprof?

D63a9a7789b948a1e88647f6c0e504ca

(1453)

on August 02, 2012
at 02:06 PM

Actually, Paul Jaminet has stated recently that he no longer recommends supplementing selenium and only getting it from food, and that he'll be blogging about his reasons soon.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on August 02, 2012
at 01:13 PM

Probably two brazil nuts is a more tolerable amount. Gee. Thanks for pointing this out...

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on August 02, 2012
at 12:59 PM

Woah, so brazil nuts easily bump you over the limit. I generally try not to eat more than five or six at a time, but if the limit is 400 per day, maybe I should be eating macadamias and walnuts instead! lol. Good to know.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on August 02, 2012
at 12:50 PM

Whenever my parents hosted bridge club (maybe twice per year in the 60's/70's), they would have bowls of mixed nuts around the house. I would pick out the brazil nuts and feast on them. When the brazil nuts were gone, I would start on the cashews...

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on August 02, 2012
at 12:17 PM

IDK but I eat the brazil nuts quite regularly. I wonder does the body clear it all quickly or what....interesting question..

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4 Answers

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3
Baa413654789b57f3579474ca7fa43d7

(2349)

on August 02, 2012
at 12:41 PM

The Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences has set a tolerable upper intake level (UL) for selenium at 400 micrograms per day for adults to prevent the risk of developing selenosis. http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Selenium-HealthProfessional/

"Sources indicate that the first symptoms of toxicity are hair and nail brittleness and garlic smell on the breath. The cases of death I read about involved the ingestion of "gun bluing" (2% selenious acid), so don't drink gun bluing, as selenium posioning sounds like one of the more horrific ways to die." http://evolutionarypsychiatry.blogspot.com/2010/11/selenium.html

I agree with Dave S. If you are concerned, you can just track a couple days of food intake to get an idea of how much you are consuming. OD'ing on selenium from food is pretty unlikley unless you are scarfing down brazil nuts.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on August 02, 2012
at 12:50 PM

Whenever my parents hosted bridge club (maybe twice per year in the 60's/70's), they would have bowls of mixed nuts around the house. I would pick out the brazil nuts and feast on them. When the brazil nuts were gone, I would start on the cashews...

81348acb7b886e2b32ca915d250268f3

(1022)

on August 02, 2012
at 11:01 PM

Thanks for this info. I think I'll be more concerned about the number of brazil nuts I eat rather than the supplement. FYI, In Brazil the nuts are called Para Nuts, cos they are grown in the province of Para, on the Amazon Delta, I've been there and I gorged on brazil nuts :P

D5cde8031564f905260ce9aa7a1f5e2c

(1170)

on August 02, 2012
at 11:35 PM

A recent study suggests that selenium toxicity from a traditional diet (in this case, brazil nuts) doesn't really happen. Supplements are a different story. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=brazil%20nut%20poisoning%20selenium

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on August 02, 2012
at 01:13 PM

Probably two brazil nuts is a more tolerable amount. Gee. Thanks for pointing this out...

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on August 02, 2012
at 12:59 PM

Woah, so brazil nuts easily bump you over the limit. I generally try not to eat more than five or six at a time, but if the limit is 400 per day, maybe I should be eating macadamias and walnuts instead! lol. Good to know.

3
A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on August 02, 2012
at 12:34 PM

Plug your daily intake into FitDay or something similar. It will give you an idea of how much you are getting. Of course, food varies quite a bit and I tend to think you get less based on soil depletion.

Paul Jaminet recommends supplementing selenium as it hard to get enough through food. However, he says that if you don't want to take a supplement, eating 2 or 3 brazil nuts per day is plenty. Note that brazil nuts are not farmed, they grow wild in the rainforest and are simply collected, so the soil should not be depleted of anything.

I doubt that you are in any danger of getting too much, unless you eat a lot of brazil nuts!

93eea7754e6e94b6085dbabbb48c0bb7

on August 02, 2012
at 04:22 PM

Really when did you hear this prairieprof?

D63a9a7789b948a1e88647f6c0e504ca

(1453)

on August 02, 2012
at 02:06 PM

Actually, Paul Jaminet has stated recently that he no longer recommends supplementing selenium and only getting it from food, and that he'll be blogging about his reasons soon.

81348acb7b886e2b32ca915d250268f3

(1022)

on August 02, 2012
at 10:58 PM

I used to eat a lot of Brazil nuts (far more than 2-3 a day, more like a couple of handfulls) as they came in the nut/trail mix I used to buy but now I buy a different mix that does not contain them. These days my main sources (assuming the food is not selenium deficient) are 2x eggs, 2-3x short cut bacon for breaky, I tend to eat a lot of garlic, and obviously red meat. So my guess is I'm probably within limits just on diet, and maybe the extra 25mcg will put me a touch over on a particularly selenium rich day. Cheers for your input.

3b0b95dfc6dc5c18e535945f4aab0866

(2392)

on August 02, 2012
at 05:17 PM

I agree with Paul. 8oz steak = 37mcg, 2 lg egg = 32mcg, 4 sl bacon = 25mcg, 4oz pork = 50mcg. Right there is a decent amount for a day.

1
8e403031cae4272bac5c25c40446daaf

(176)

on August 02, 2012
at 07:16 PM

25mcg is a very small amount of selenium, and well within the body's capacity to eliminate if needed

0
44348571d9bc70c02ac2975cc500f154

(5853)

on August 02, 2012
at 07:01 PM

Lamb kidneys are pretty solid selenium supplement, perhaps K2 as well.

44348571d9bc70c02ac2975cc500f154

(5853)

on August 03, 2012
at 04:50 AM

100grams have like over 120 mcg selenium

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