Selenium Deficiency: Symptoms, Treatment For Low Selenium Levels

Lack of Selenium

Selenium is a trace mineral required by the body in a very minute quantity, therefore selenium deficiency is very uncommon. People eating normal healthy diet rarely suffer from low selenium levels. However, some people may be lacking even this small quantity.

Selenium deficiency causes several autoimmune diseases such as psoriasis, thyroid disorder etc.

A person suffering from selenium deficiency is susceptible to heart disease and viral disease especially coxsackievirus.

Selenium is chemically related to sulfur and tellurium. Trace amount of selenium is valuable for various body functions, especially its use in production of enzymes.

Selenium Health Benefits

Let us know the health benefits of selenium:

  • It acts as an antioxidant and protects the body from free radicals which damage the body.
  • With vitamin E, it is known to prevent cancer.
  • It prevents toxicity caused by metals like copper and arsenic.
  • Has a role to play in maintaining normal blood pressure.
  • It is essential in regulating thyroid gland.

Causes of Low Selenium Levels

  • Lack of selenium is caused when selenium is lacking in food we eat especially vegetables and plants.
  • The soil where the vegetables are grown may have very meager amount of selenium. Therefore those living in that area may face deficiency of selenium.
  • Total intravenous or tube feeding.
  • Gastrointestinal bypass surgery.

Selenium Deficiency Symptoms

There is a controversy regarding selenium deficiency and symptoms caused by it. Even then, prolonged deficiency may give rise to symptoms and conditions such as:

  • Muscle pain and wasting.
  • Heart problems.
  • Hypothyroidism.
  • fatigue
  • Hair and skin discoloration.
  • Weakening of joints.

Required normal intake: men 70mcg

Women: 55mcg.

Treatment for Low Selenium Levels

  • Selenium deficiency can be easily met with adequate diet. Ensure to eat selenium rich diet such as: broccoli, mushroom, cabbage, celery, cucumbers, onion, garlic, radish, brewer’s yeast, fish and organ meat.
  • In some rare cases selenium supplements are advised, but a person should consult his physician before starting selenium supplementation. Excess of selenium can result in toxicity.

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