GOOD Sources of Selenium Food Serving (μg)
Brazil nuts 1 oz. (839)
Tuna 3 oz. (92)
Oysters 3 oz. (65)
Clams 3 oz. (54)
Halibut 3 oz. (47)
Shrimp 3 oz. (42)
Salmon 3 oz. (40)
Crab 3 oz. (38)
Brown rice 1 cup (19)
Sunflower seeds 1/4 cup (18)
Beef 3 oz. (17)
Walnuts 1 oz. (5)
Some plants including garlic, Brazil nuts and plants in the Brassica family (cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage tend to accumulate selenium if they are grown in selenium-rich soil, making them a potentially rich
plant-based source of this mineral.
The trace mineral selenium functions primarily as a component of the antioxidant
enzyme, glutathione peroxidase. Glutathione peroxidase activity, which requires
selenium for activity, facilitates the recycling of vitamins C and E, in optimizing the
performance of the antioxidant system.
Low levels of selenium have been linked to a higher risk for cancer, cardiovascular disease, inflammatory diseases, and other conditions associated with free radical damage, including aging and cataract formation. Selenium is also essential for healthy cell-mediated immune function, stimulating immune properties of lymphocytes. Selenium is also needed for the activation of thyroid hormones.
Chronic low selenium intake is associated with an increased risk for heart disease,
cancer and depressed immune function. Selenium appears to provide protection
against heart disease and stroke. Selenium supplementation (100 mcg/day) increases
the ratio ofHDL to LDL and inhibits platelet aggregation.
Selenium and glutathione peroxidase activity are low in patients with rheumatoid
arthritis, eczema, psoriasis and most inflammatory conditions. This is related to the
increased synthesis of proinflammatory prostaglandins and leukotrienes. Immune
system function is enhanced by selenium, by contributing to higher natural killer cell
(NKC) activity. Natural killer cells have the ability to destroy cancer cells and bacterial
and viral agents. Heavy metal toxicity symptoms may be alleviated by selenium, acting
as an antagonist. Selenium deficiency may also contribute to male infertility.
There are different forms of Selenium available in supplements including selenomethionine which is particularly used for autoimmune thyroiditis. Discuss with your provider which form might be best for you.