Selenium Deficiency

What Happens When You Don't Get Enough Selenium

Here we talk about what happens when you have selenium deficiency. The good news is for those living in the US or are living in areas where the selenium is found in good amounts in the soil are less likely to be affected. But I feel it’s still important to discuss what happens if you don't get enough selenium in your diet.

Very similar to the Vitamin E deficiency symptoms, there are no obvious signs or symptoms that you have a case of selenium deficiency.

One of the biggest concerns is selenium works with glutathione, a very important and powerful antioxidant in the human body.

When you don't get enough selenium, this can result in a decreased amount of glutathione being produced. Hence more free radicals doing damage and higher chances of you getting sick or taking longer to recover.

Selenium deficiency also affects theoredoxin (which helps to regenerate Vitamin C).

Selenium plays a role in your thyroid function - transforming the inactive hormone into the active form. Not getting enough selenium means this will cause a decrease in the active form of your thyroid hormone (which can cause all sorts of issues ranging from weight gain, fatigue to unsightly skin issues).

So as you can see, while selenium deficiency does not cause obvious signs or symptoms you can see externally… they do have an effect on what goes on internally.

Now there are 2 specific diseases which selenium plays a role. These 2 diseases are Keshan disease and Kashin-Beck disease... which are more prominent in China and a few northern Asian areas.

Keshan’s is a disease of the heart muscles, which, over time can cause an enlargement of the heart. This can lead to higher rates of cancer, cardiovascular disease, hypertension and stroke.

Kashin-Beck is the degeneration of cartilage in the joints causing osteoarthritis. Severe forms of the disease can cause dwarfism and joint deformities. This is more prevalent in children between the ages of 5 and 13.

Individuals at risk…

Those who are the most likely to have lower amounts of selenium are those who are chronically ill, have gastrointestinal problems such as Crohn’s disease, and individuals who are on special medical diets because they’re treating a metabolic disorder such as celiac disease or phenylketonuria (aka PKM).


Get at least 55 mcg per day from various food sources such as brazil nuts, ground beef, canned tuna, chicken, eggs, sunflower seeds, any wheat flour source and even tofu.

Rather than just focusing on one element, keep in mind that selenium also works well in conjunction with Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Vitamin E (just to name a few) in keeping your immunity high while warding off harmful free radicals that can cause damage and eventually degenerative diseases.

Selenium Related Articles

Benefits of Selenium - The benefits of selenium include creation of internal enzymes that work with your immunity, glutathione and works with other important nutrients to fight off degenerative diseases (ie. heart disease, cancer).

Selenium Foods - Now that you know the benefits of selenium, what are the best selenium foods? Chances are you're already eating them but in case you wanted to add 1 or 2 more to your diet I provide a list for you in this article.

Related Articles

Vitamin A Deficiency Symptoms

Vitamin E Deficiency

From Selenium Deficiency back to Benefits of Selenium

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