Q. How effective is selenium?
A. While scientific data on its effects on the body remain controversial, it is a scientific fact that there is a link between low levels of selenium and chronic illnesses such as Crohn’s disease. Crohn’s disease is a medical condition characterized by chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. Increased risk of the medical condition, rheumatoid arthritis is also associated with low levels of selenium in the bloodstream. Other illnesses linked with low levels of selenium in the body are asthma, HIV, and cancer. Taking selenium supplements may help augment such deficiencies and improve the overall health condition of the individual.
Q. What food is rich in dietary selenium?
A. Good dietary sources of this mineral are as follows: garlic, butter, sunflower seeds, whole grain, brewer’s yeast and wheat germ, Brazil nuts, and fish (tuna, mackerel, halibut, herring, flounder, and smelts). Selenium content of plants is dependent on the selenium content of the soil. It should be noted though, that food processing takes away the benefits of the food’s selenium content.
Q. What precautions should I take when considering selenium supplementation?
A. Before you take supplementation, it is good for you to remember that the body only needs a minimal amount of selenium for improved body functions. Before you take any selenium supplement, make sure to consult first with your doctor. High doses of selenium taken over a long period can prove toxic and can lead to side effects such as skin rash, fingernail loss, and irritability. It can also increase your risk of high cholesterol and diabetes. Those who suffer from hypothyroidism are strongly advised to talk with their medical professional before taking this supplement.
Q. What medications may have effects on the selenium level of my body?
Taking any of these drugs and chemicals may lower your body’s level of selenium:
- Valproic acid
- Gold salts
Taking selenium with these sedatives will compound the drugs’ effects on the body:
Selenium intake may increase an individual’s risk of bleeding when taken with these drugs:
Selenium supplementation may lower the efficacy of these medications:
- Cholesterol-lowering medication
- Birth control pills