Have you got a selenium deficiency?

29 Mar 2023

Wondering what selenium is? Or perhaps you’ve been told you have one of the symptoms associated with a deficiency?

Here’s everything you need to know about what selenium is, the signs that suggest you need more and ways to help meet your daily quota.

What is selenium deficiency?

As an important mineral, selenium helps many processes in your body, including DNA synthesis, reproduction, thyroid hormone metabolism and protection against infection.

It also helps to protect your body from cell and tissue damage.

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Signs that you have a selenium deficiency

Symptoms of selenium deficiency vary greatly and often go unnoticed. To give you an idea, here are a few common signs to look out for:

  • shedding hair (large lumps)
  • discolouration of the nails and skin
  • itchy scalp or bad dandruff
  • fatigue
  • a foggy mind
  • muscle weakness
  • a week immune system (constantly ill)
  • infertility issues in men and women

While selenium deficiency is tricky to diagnose, it’s always worth seeking advice from your local GP or doctor if you’re unsure.

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How much selenium should you be consuming?

According to the NHS, the recommended daily allowance for people aged between 19-64 is 0.075 mg for men and 0.06 mg for women.1

However, you shouldn’t continually exceed this daily allowance as the NHS also stated that too much selenium in your diet can cause selenosis – a condition that can lead to loss of hair, skin and nails.

How to add more selenium in your diet?

The first port of call is to tweak your diet to add certain foods that are rich in selenium. Some of the best sources include:

  • Brazil nuts
  • rice
  • beans
  • whole-wheat bread

You can also increase your daily intake of selenium by taking supplements on a daily basis.

Advice is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please check with your GP before trying any remedies.
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  1. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins-and-minerals/others/#selenium

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