What are the risks of taking selenium

Selenium: Often harmful rather than useful

Selenium does not protect against cardiovascular diseases. In addition, there is a connection between selenium intake and an increased risk of diabetes. The German Society for Endocrinology (DGE) points this out. A current meta-analysis of twelve randomized and controlled studies with around 20,000 participants is available for heart disease. This showed no preventive effect of selenium administration. The media spokesman for the DGE, Professor Dr. Helmut Schatz from Bochum also refers to another study. This has shown that taking selenium can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes up to three times. Earlier studies would have shown something similar.


Many endocrinologists use selenium therapeutically for autoimmune diseases of the thyroid such as Hashimoto's thyroiditis. "Selenium serves as a building block for certain enzymes that are involved in the production of thyroid hormones," explains Schatz. But here, too, the evidence for the necessity of a selenium administration is not certain, according to the expert: "For this, prospective, controlled therapy studies with selenium in comparison with placebo must urgently be carried out on a larger number of patients."


People ingest selenium through their diet. Meat, seafood, fish as well as dairy and grain products are rich in selenium. "We only have a selenium deficiency in vegans or artificially nourished people," says Schatz. Healthy people do not need selenium supplements, so the doctor's conclusion. Taking it for no reason could even be harmful. Too much selenium can cause selenium poisoning, or selenosis. Typical symptoms of selenosis are gastrointestinal complaints, hair loss, nail changes, fatigue, irritability and nerve irritation. (ss)


02/13/2013 PZ

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