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Selenium Excess

By

Larry E. Johnson

, MD, PhD, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

Last full review/revision Dec 2021
CLICK HERE FOR THE PROFESSONAL VERSION

Selenium excess is rare and is caused by consuming too much of the mineral selenium.

Selenium occurs in all tissues. Selenium works with vitamin E as an antioxidant. It helps protect cells against damage by free radicals, which are reactive by-products of normal cell activity. Selenium may help protect against some cancers. Selenium is also necessary for the thyroid gland to function normally. (See also Overview of Minerals Overview of Minerals Minerals are necessary for the normal functioning of the body’s cells. The body needs relatively large quantities of Calcium Chloride Magnesium Phosphate read more .)

Taking more than 900 micrograms of a nonprescription selenium supplement each day can have harmful effects. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, hair loss, abnormal nails, a rash, fatigue, and nerve damage. The breath may smell like garlic.

The diagnosis of selenium excess is based on symptoms, particularly rapid hair loss.

Treatment of selenium excess involves reducing selenium consumption.

NOTE: This is the Consumer Version. DOCTORS: CLICK HERE FOR THE PROFESSONAL VERSION
CLICK HERE FOR THE PROFESSONAL VERSION
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Vitamin A (retinol) is necessary for maintaining night vision, skin health, and the health of the lining of the lungs, intestine, and urinary tract. It also helps protect against infections. The body converts carotenoids, substances found in certain foods, into vitamin A. Which of the following foods are high in carotenoids?
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