Trace Elements Copper Manganese Tin
    Flouride Molybdenum Vanadium
  Chromium Iodine Nickel Zinc
  Cobalt Iron Selenium  


In a nutshell:

Selenium is an antioxidant that protects the cells in the body from the damage caused by free radicals.


The total amount of selenium in the human body is about 10 to 15 mg. Selenium acts as a component of certain enzymes, for e.g. the deiodinase enzyme which is needed for the synthesis of the thyroid gland hormone. In addition to this selenium, as an enzyme component, along with other antioxidants protects the cells from free radicals before they damage other essential molecules and cause oxidation.

It is claimed that a good supply of selenium helps to prevent cancer. Studies have shown that low levels of selenium in the blood can increase the risk of getting fatal cardiovascular illnesses.

There is insufficient information on the effect of an increased selenium intake as a prophylaxis to reduce the risk of getting heart attacks, cancer or malfunctioning of the immune system.

Requirement, deficiency, oversupply:

Recommended intake according to the DGE*




19 - 25

30 - 70µg

30 - 70µg

25 - 51

30 - 70µg

30 - 70µg

51 - 65

30 - 70µg

30 - 70µg

over 65

30 - 70µg

30 - 70µg

*Deutsche Gesellschaft für Ernährung - a German Nutrition Society.

A selenium deficiency can lead to fertility and growth problems.

An overdose of selenium (if you consume 10 to 20 times more than the recommended daily requirements) can lead to symptoms of poisoning such as cirrhosis of the liver, hair loss and cardiac insufficiency.


Selenium in food:

The selenium content in foods is dependant on the fertility of the soil on which the fruit and vegetables were planted on. Meat, fish and eggs are good selenium sources. Selenium rich plant foods include lentils and asparagus.

Selenium in 100 g food:

Kidney: 1200 µg
Liver: 800 µg
Cheese: 60 µg
Wheat products: 40 µg
Chicken egg: 40 µg

Units: 1.000.000 µg = 1 g


Selenium: Are You Getting Enough to Reduce Your Risk of Cancer  

Advanced Sports Nutrition-2nd Edition
Dan Benardot

Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook
Nancy Clark

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