Selenium Deficiency: 6 Serious Ways It Can Affect You

Selenium is a hint mineral with essential properties. It controls a number of processes in regular well being and metabolism. The mineral promotes thyroid well being and performs a job in sustaining cardiovascular and neurological well being (1).

However a deficiency of this mineral can have critical penalties. Studies counsel that selenium deficiency impacts near a billion folks on the planet (2).

On this put up, we’ll talk about the grave results selenium deficiency can have in your well being, and extra importantly, what you are able to do to stop them.

What Is Selenium Deficiency?

Selenium deficiency refers to having insufficient ranges of the mineral in your system. This may occur as a result of diminishing ranges of selenium within the soil the place meals wealthy in selenium are grown.

Inadequate consumption of selenium can alter the way in which sure selenium-responsive enzymes operate. These enzymes embrace glutathione peroxidases, iodothyronine deiodinases, and selenoproteins (3).

People poor in selenium have been discovered to be extra weak to physiological stresses (3). Selenium deficiency, as we mentioned, may cause extra hurt than you would possibly know. Within the following part, we’ll discover how.

What Are The Indicators And Signs Of Selenium Deficiency?

Selenium deficiency can floor within the type of muscle weak spot, nervousness, depressed temper, and confusion. These signs, if ignored, can result in extra difficult well being dangers (1).

1. Can Trigger Cardiovascular Issues


Selenium deficiency was linked to cardiomyopathy, which is a persistent illness of the guts muscle. Research have additionally proven it to trigger Keshan illness, a type of cardiomyopathy prevalent within the Chinese language county of Keshan (4). In mice research, selenium supplementation might cut back cardiotoxicity (5).

Selenium is understood to fight oxidative stress. Its deficiency can doubtlessly result in a rise in oxidative stress, thereby probably affecting coronary heart well being (5).

Selenium deficiency in rats additionally led to elevated myocardial harm. Research conclude that low serum selenium ranges could be thought of a threat issue for heart problems (5).

Deficiency of the mineral may additionally trigger lipid peroxidation (degradation of lipids). This may trigger elevated blood stress ranges and platelet aggregation, doubtlessly rising coronary heart illness threat. Ample selenium ranges additionally defend the guts from sure viral infections (6).

2. Can Have an effect on The Endocrine System

The endocrine system regulates hormones that promote progress, growth, and metabolism (7). It consists of the thyroid, pituitary, and adrenal glands, the pancreas, testicles (male), and ovaries (feminine) (8).

The thyroid incorporates the utmost focus of selenium amongst all organs of the human physique. Iodothyronine deiodinases, the enzymes related to selenium, promote thyroid hormone metabolism (1). Deficiency of selenium can hinder this course of.

Selenium controls the functioning of over 30 totally different selenoproteins, all of which exert a number of actions on the endocrine system. These selenoproteins act as antioxidants and modify the cell operate within the system (9).

3. Can Hurt The Musculoskeletal System

Selenium deficiency may cause musculoskeletal ailments. Considered one of them is the Kashin-Beck illness, which is characterised by the deformity of bones, cartilages, and joints. This results in enlarged joints and restricts motion (1).

Selenium and the related selenoproteins even have a job to play in muscular operate. In each cattle and people, selenium deficiency was noticed to trigger a number of muscular ailments (10).

4. Might Have an effect on Neural Well being

May Affect Neural Health


Selenium deficiency has been discovered to trigger depressive temper and hostile conduct. The deficiency also can have an effect on the turnover charge of sure neurotransmitters (1).

In sufferers with Alzheimer’s, selenium focus was discovered to be solely 60% of that of wholesome people (1).

Glutathione peroxidases, the vital enzymes related to selenium, are predominantly current within the mind. These enzymes cut back the reactive oxygen species, which may harm mind well being. Deficiency in selenium can hamper this helpful course of (11).

5. Can Damage Your Immune System

Studies have linked selenium deficiency to weak immunity. The mineral might enhance response, and its inadequacy might weaken the immune system (1).

Selenium deficiency was additionally discovered to impair immune response and enhance the chance of an infection (12). Dietary selenium is vital for a wholesome immune system.

Selenium deficiency may additionally result in the dysfunction of immune cells (13).

6. Might Have an effect on The Reproductive System

In males, selenium performs a job in testosterone biosynthesis. Deficiency of selenium might trigger infertility in males (1).

Selenium deficiency in females may additionally result in infertility points. Nonetheless, extra large-scale research are wanted to conclude this (14).

Selenium deficiency can have deadly penalties in the long term. It is very important perceive if you’re in danger. Sure people are typically at a better threat of the deficiency than others.

Who Is At A Increased Danger Of Selenium Deficiency?

Although selenium deficiency is kind of uncommon in the US, sure teams of individuals could be at a better threat.

  • These Present process Kidney Dialysis

Kidney dialysis (also referred to as hemodialysis) removes some selenium from the blood (15). Sufferers present process dialysis may be selenium poor attributable to extreme meals restrictions.

  • These Residing With HIV

People residing with HIV might develop into selenium poor attributable to extreme lack of the nutrient by diarrhea. Even malabsorption can result in deficiency. Serum selenium ranges can lower with illness development (16).

  • These Residing In Selenium-Poor Areas

People residing in nations whose food plan has greens grown in low-selenium areas can be susceptible to selenium deficiency. These embrace sure elements of China, the place soil selenium ranges are low (17). Even people residing in some European nations could possibly be in danger.

In case you belong to the chance teams or expertise signs related to selenium deficiency, please go to your physician. Any delays can have critical penalties.

How Is The Deficiency Recognized?

Selenium deficiency is identified and confirmed by measuring concentrations of the mineral within the serum or plasma. Selenium ranges lower than 70 bg/mL point out the potential for deficiency.

What About The Remedy?

Most frequently, selenium deficiency impacts complete populations. Soils have been fertilized and meals have been fortified with selenium (1).

One of the best therapy for people poor in selenium is following a selenium-rich food plan. Meals wealthy in selenium embrace:

  • Brazil nuts
  • Yellowfin tuna
  • Halibut
  • Macaroni
  • Beef liver
  • Cottage cheese
  • Brown rice
  • Eggs

In case you can’t eat any of the selenium-rich meals for any cause, selenium dietary supplements also can assist (3). Make sure you communicate to your well being care supplier earlier than going for dietary supplements to keep away from selenium toxicity.

It could possibly be a hint mineral. However you will need to perceive how a lot selenium we want. For adults (each female and male), the RDA for selenium is 55 mcg. For pregnant ladies, it’s 60 mcg per day, whereas for lactating ladies, it’s 70 mcg per day. The tolerable higher restrict for selenium is 400 mcg per day. Intakes past this will trigger issues (17).


Since selenium occurs to be a hint mineral, we don’t pay it a lot consideration. However as we now have seen, it has some crucial roles to play in human well being. Its deficiency may cause critical well being points.

In case you expertise signs that could possibly be associated to selenium deficiency, please go to your physician. Begin together with meals/dietary supplements in your food plan as required.

Had been you poor on selenium earlier than? What measures did you are taking? Do share your experiences with us by leaving a remark within the field beneath.

17 sources

Stylecraze has strict sourcing pointers and depends on peer-reviewed research, educational analysis establishments, and medical associations. We keep away from utilizing tertiary references. You may study extra about how we guarantee our content material is correct and present by studying our editorial coverage.
  • Selenium Deficiency, Nationwide Middle for Biotechnology Data.
  • Selenium deficiency threat predicted to extend below future local weather change, Proceedings of the Nationwide Academy of Sciences of the US of America. material/114/11/2848.full
  • Selenium, Oregon State College.
  • Is selenium deficiency actually the reason for Keshan illness? Environmental Geochemistry and Well being, US Nationwide Library of Drugs, Nationwide Institutes of Well being.
  • Selenium and Its Supplementation in Cardiovascular Illness—What do We Know? Vitamins, US Nationwide Library of Drugs, Nationwide Institutes of Well being.
  • Selenium and heart problems, Organic Hint Factor Analysis, US Nationwide Library of Drugs, Nationwide Institutes of Well being.
  • Introduction to the Endocrine System, Nationwide Most cancers Institute, Nationwide Institutes of Well being.
  • Endocrine system, US Nationwide Library of Drugs, Nationwide Institutes of Well being.
  • Selenium and endocrine programs, The Journal of Endocrinology, US Nationwide Library of Drugs, Nationwide Institutes of Well being.
  • Understanding the significance of selenium and selenoproteins in muscle operate, Mobile and Molecular Life Sciences, US Nationwide Library of Drugs, Nationwide Institutes of Well being.
  • Cognitive operate in depth, Oregon State College.
  • Selenium deficiency impairs host innate immune response and induces susceptibility to Listeria monocytogenes an infection, BMC Immunology, US Nationwide Library of Drugs, Nationwide Institutes of Well being.
  • Selenium deficiency inhibits differentiation and immune operate and imbalances the Th1/Th2 of dendritic cells, Metallomics, US Nationwide Library of Drugs, Nationwide Institutes of Well being.
  • Selenium, Selenoproteins, and Feminine Replica: A Overview, Molecules, US Nationwide Library of Drugs, Nationwide Institutes of Well being.
  • Hint parts in hemodialysis sufferers: a scientific evaluation and meta-analysis, BMC Drugs, US Nationwide Library of Drugs, Nationwide Institutes of Well being.
  • Function of selenium in HIV an infection, Vitamin Evaluations, US Nationwide Library of Drugs, Nationwide Institutes of Well being.
  • Selenium, Nationwide Institutes of Well being, Workplace of Dietary Dietary supplements.

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