Selenium - Everything About Needs, Sources And Deficiencies

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Selenium - Everything About Needs, Sources And Deficiencies
Selenium - Everything About Needs, Sources And Deficiencies

Video: Selenium - Everything About Needs, Sources And Deficiencies

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Video: Selenium Deficiency | Dietary Sources, Causes, Signs & Symptoms (Infertility), Diagnosis, Treatment 2023, January


The trace element selenium is essential for the body (essential) and is a component of various enzymes and proteins. It is involved in many reactions in the body, including the regulation of thyroid hormones and the antioxidant protection system against free radicals. Selenium is also a component of sperm and is necessary for male fertility. Selenium is found in many foods, albeit in small amounts. In particular, the selenium content of plant foods is subject to great fluctuations, as it is influenced by the soil. Those who follow a strict vegetarian or vegan diet should therefore consciously include plant-based selenium-rich foods such as Brazil nuts and mushrooms in their diet.


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  • more on the subject
  • Where is selenium found?
  • How much selenium do we need?
  • Too much / too little selenium

Where is selenium found?

Good sources of selenium include meat, fish and eggs as well as mushrooms, cabbage and onion vegetables, lentils, asparagus and nuts, especially Brazil nuts.

How much selenium do we need?

The exact need is not known. The estimated value for an adequate intake for adults (25 to <51 years) per day according to the DA-CH reference values ​​is 70 µg selenium (men) and 60 µg (women) - this value also applies to pregnant women. For breastfeeding women, the estimated value is 75 µg selenium per day.

You can find out more about all age groups or groups of people as well as gender in the DA-CH reference values. For more information, see Covering Your Daily Mineral Requirement.

Too much / too little selenium

  • An extremely high intake can lead to acute selenium poisoning, which can lead to heart failure, ventricular fibrillation and even death. A chronically high intake of selenium causes symptoms such as hair loss, loss of nails or disorders of the nervous system, fatigue, joint pain, nausea and diarrhea. An oversupply of selenium can become noticeable in those affected by a garlic-like breath odor. Selenium supplements should never be taken without consulting a doctor.
  • A selenium deficiencyinsufficient intake through food is rare in Europe, but possible with very one-sided diets (e.g. veganism). In this country, diseases with impaired selenium absorption or high selenium losses are more likely a risk factor for an undersupply. These include, for example, inflammatory bowel disease, cystic fibrosis, short bowel syndrome, as well as kidney failure and chronic dialysis. Symptoms of a selenium deficiency are, for example, disorders of muscle function, the immune system and sperm formation. Selenium deficiency during pregnancy can lead to decreased birth weight, preeclampsia and miscarriage.The two most pronounced selenium deficiency diseases are "Keshan" and "Kashin-Beck" disease with heart and joint problems - both are, however, dependent on other influencing factors and are not relevant in this country.

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