Symptoms of Selenium Deficiency

Symptoms of Selenium Deficiency – Risk of Selenium Overdose

Selenium is an essential nutrient that one can easily avail it in the diet form or in the supplement form. It plays a vital role in the proper function of many organs of the human body and protects from the risk of developing many chronic health concerns. So it’s very necessary that you should understand the importance of selenium for wellbeing.

At different ages of human life, the necessity of selenium in the body differs as per the age group. This is a vital nutrient which is necessary for overall good health and well-being of anyone. Its antioxidant property protects your body from the attack of free radicals and infections and prevents the damaging of many vital organs.

Apart from this, it is vital for DNA production, reproduction, thyroid gland functionality and for boosting the immunity power of the body. You can get selenium in the plant form or through animals. Selenium content of any plant foods depends on the quality of soil in which that plant has grown.

The selenium value derived from any animal products depends upon the quality of foods that animal used to eat. As per your age and health condition you can fulfill the necessity of selenium in your body by including different sources of selenium.

However, people with some special health conditions find difficulty in obtaining enough amount of selenium such as HIV patients, Kidney patients, especially who are going through kidney dialysis and those who are consuming poor quality foods grown in the soil having very low selenium value.

Selenium deficiency, in general, is not a very common health concern, however, if it develops it can cause male infertility, Kashin-Beck disease which is one kind of arthritis that can create pain, loss of sensation and swelling, one type of heart disease called Keshan disease, etc.

How much Selenium do we really need?

Selenium is one of the essential elements which is vital for overall good health and its deficiency can lead to cause many chronic diseases, cancer is one of them. However, you can easily fulfill the necessity of selenium through regular food intake.

Still, if selenium insufficiency occurs it can be fulfilled through diets and in the supplementary forms. Researchers say that people who drink alcohol, smoke and take birth control pills are usually detected with selenium deficiency. So for precautions these people should go for the selenium test in order to clarify whether there is an adequate level of selenium is there or it has a deficiency.

As per the age group and the gender the upper limit of selenium is fixed by the health specialists. Exceeding this level is harmful to health and lesser than the adequate level is considered selenium deficiency. The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) limit for total selenium (out of diet and supplements) for different groups of people is mentioned below.

RDA Limit of Selenium

Age GroupRDA Limit
Children 1 to 3 years20 micrograms per day
Children 4 to 8 years30 micrograms per day
Children 9 to 13 years40 micrograms per day
Teenagers and Adults 14 and above55 micrograms per day
Pregnant women60 micrograms per day
Breastfeeding women70 micrograms per day

7 Signs of Selenium Deficiency in Body

Selenium Dietary SourcesWe often heard about Vitamin D deficiency and other types of nutrient deficiencies that are cause and concerns for some health issues. However very few of us familiar with the concept of selenium deficiency which can also throw its negative impact on health.

Selenium is one of the vital nutrients that we get from food and supplementary form which helps to regulate some primary functions of the body. It is a powerful antioxidant which protects the body from the attack of free radicals.

Any food not produced in the selenium-rich soil, and some digestive diseases such as Celiac diseases are some primary factors that cause selenium deficiency which is a vital mineral for the body. If your body is lacking in this vital mineral then it will develop the following signs or symptoms.

Disturbed Brain Functionality

The brain is one of the most important organs of the body that regulate overall functionality in a body by giving the signals to different organs at the right time in the right way. This functionality of the brain is very much required selenoproteins an important element produced by an adequate amount of selenium in the body.

So when your body gets affected by the selenium deficiency it is very much reflected in the form of the disturbed functionality of the brain. The selenoproteins help in many brain’s signal pathways such as neuronal cells that use GABA, a neurotransmitter as its primary signaling molecule.

As the body has less selenium because of its insufficiency so it becomes unable to produce selenoproteins resulting in issues like weaker memory, lack of attentiveness, brain fog, and cognitive disruption develops.

Extreme Fatigue

If you are facing constant fatigue and exhaustion since a very long time without any particular reason then don’t ignore it at all as it can be a sign of some severe internal health concern, selenium deficiency is one of those reasons.

Selenium is a vital mineral for the body that gives a boost to metabolism and for reducing oxidative stress which is vital so that necessary oxygenated blood can exist around the body. This is vital work for keeping your body fresh and energetic most of the time. However, when you go through the selenium deficiency you start feeling extreme fatigue and exhaustion.


Selenium is necessary for the good metabolic rate of the body but in the cases of its deficiency body becomes unable to regulate metabolism which in turn causes thyroid issue. Hypothyroidism is one of the basic sign of selenium deficiency which can cause cells damaging by producing hydrogen peroxide.

However, with proper intake of selenium-rich diets, this cell-damaging issue can be prevented as selenium reutilizes the hydrogen peroxide produced by the thyroid organ.

Frequent Sickness

The antioxidant property of selenium affects a lot to the body’s immunity power otherwise in the lack of this mineral, body immune power gets very weak resulting in frequent cold and cough or sickness issue develops.

If you are facing frequent flu and sickness without any particular reason, then don’t ignore it at all as it is the lack of selenium in your regular diet which can be a primary factor for your frequent sickness.

Also ensure that all other factors that may cause frequent sickness problem are all OK such as your sleeping pattern, stress, hygiene is maintained, etc. affect the immunity power. If everything is fine then you should go for the selenium test in order to confirm whether its deficiency has caused you to suffer from the trouble of frequent sickness or not.

Weak Immunity Power

Selenium deficiency very much affects to body’s immunity power as this vital nutrient produces one important antioxidant naming glutathione peroxidase that gives a boost to immunity power. Frequent sickness, the slow healing process, etc. are all the symptoms of weak immunity power which develops due to selenium deficiency.

If you are not getting enough selenium out of diets then take it in the supplement form and improve your immunity power in order to stay healthy and strong.

Infertility Problem

Selenium deficiency very much affects the fertility or reproductive capacity in both men and women. Infertility issues such as low sperm count or quality, motility, and problems in conceiving may happen in the lack of the necessary amount of selenium in the body.

Weight Gain

If you are experiencing sudden weight gain without any particular reason or without trying for that then possibility exists that this unwanted weight gain has happened due to selenium deficiency as it very much affects to the thyroid health which tends to increase in weight.

Increased Risk of Cancer

Some sort of cancer is very much associated with the selenium deficiency in the body that promotes the growth of cancerous cells, especially in bladder, stomach, and prostate. One research was conducted to analyze the relationship between selenium deficiency and cancer growth, which further reveals that a regular selenium intake can reduce the cancer growth risk by 31 percent.

However, this needs further research to be conducted before coming to any conclusion still the selenium intake is beneficial for health in many ways. In this regard, not the selenium supplements instead, foods which are rich in selenium such as broccoli, asparagus, mushrooms, etc. are considered better for preventing the cancer risk.

Breathing Shortness

Selenium deficiency affects very much to heart health and it can develop many problems associated with bad heart functionality, breathing shortness is one of those issues. A healthy amount of selenium intake is very much vital for keeping the heart pumping rate in good condition.

If your body is lack with the necessary selenium nutrient then you have higher exposure for heart failure, swollen legs, and breathing troubles. However, by taking a healthy diet intake rich in selenium, you can reduce this trouble to a great extent.

Poor Skin and Nail Quality

The antioxidant and detoxifying properties of selenium keep your skin and nail’s health in good condition by protecting against the damages caused by free radicals and toxins. So when your body gets affected by the selenium deficiency it is easily seen in the form of deteriorated skin and nails look and appearance.

Selenium helps to produce glutathione peroxidase which is one of the primary antioxidant and detoxifier of the body. In the cases of selenium insufficiency, many skin issues occur such as skin discoloration, wrinkle appearance, poor and discolored nail beds, etc.

Loss of Hair

Consistent hair loss should not be considered as a natural part of life as it often gets affected by the selenium deficiency in the body that affects the strength and growth of usual hair. Selenium produces one vital antioxidant i.e. Vitamin C which is important for hair growth and regeneration as it kills the harmful free radicals that can impact the total hair health.

Low Mood

Low mood and frequent anxiety are some chronic mental concerns which are often linked with selenium deficiency. As the selenium level in the body helps to produce energy and reduces the oxidative stress so it affects mood and mental strength too.

However, this problem can be overcome by increasing the intake of selenium via food or in the supplement form. Research has proved that increasing the level of selenium help a lot to improve mood and for reducing anxiety.

Risk Associated with Overdose of Selenium Intake

importance of selenium for wellbeingSelenium is one of the vital nutrients for the human body as it regulates the functionality of some primary organs of the body. However, its overdose is not at all good for health and may cause to develop some health concerns which are mentioned below.

Diabetes Problem

Taking higher doses of selenium increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. People who consume 200 micrograms of selenium in a day are more likely to develop diabetes symptoms; however, this needs more studies for a final conclusion.

Interact with Other Medications

Overdoses of selenium interact with other medications which you are taking at the same point of time and reduces their effectiveness, such as chemotherapy drugs, cholesterol-lowering drugs, birth control pills, and corticosteroids.

Side Effects

An exceeding dose of selenium can cause many side effects such as nausea, fever, bad breath, liver, heart, and kidney related problems.

Prostate Cancer Risk

As per one study by the National Cancer Institute men who have already a very high level of selenium concentration in their body are very much at risk of developing the prostate cancer if they consume more selenium in the supplement form.

Skin Cancer Risk

People who take overdoses of selenium supplements are at risk of developing skin cancer as these supplements interfere with the skin’s health.

As now you are very much aware of the importance of selenium for wellbeing and it’s deficiency symptoms so as soon as you notice any of these symptoms increase your selenium intake either in foods or supplement form for you good overall health

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