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What it is

Selenium is a trace mineral found naturally in Brazil nuts, walnuts, garlic, shellfish, poultry, eggs, corn, soybeans, and enriched pasta and bread. In the body, it combines with proteins to form antioxidants called selenoproteins that prevent cell damage from free radicals, regulate thyroid function, and boost immunity.


Due to its antioxidant properties, selenium may offer protection against prostate, esophageal, lung, colorectal, and bladder cancers. It may also relieve rheumatoid arthritis inflammation. An ingredient in many antidandruff shampoos, selenium reduces itching, flaking, irritation, and redness of the scalp.


A recent study conducted at the University of Texas indicated that selenium may offer protection against prostate cancer by altering the expression of genes linked to tumor formation.

How to take it*

The RDA for selenium is 55–70 mcg per day, which many Americans get through food. In addition, some studies indicate that taking selenium and vitamin C together may increase the body’s absorption of the mineral from food sources.

Side effects

High, concentrated doses of the mineral can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

*Talk with your health care provider before starting any supplement regimen.

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