MSD Manual

Please confirm that you are not located inside the Russian Federation

honeypot link

Selenium Excess

By

Larry E. Johnson

, MD, PhD, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

Medically Reviewed Dec 2021 | Modified Sep 2022
VIEW PROFESSIONAL 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: VIEW PROFESSIONAL VERSION
VIEW PROFESSIONAL VERSION
quiz link

Test your knowledge

Take a Quiz! 
iOS ANDROID
iOS ANDROID
iOS ANDROID
TOP