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Selenium causing Diabetes?

Posted on September 17, 2022 | No Comments on Selenium causing Diabetes?

Question: I take selenium because it’s an antioxidant but was told that I shouldn’t because it can cause diabetes. Is this true?

SELENIUM is an ESSENTIAL TRACE mineral that our body uses in specific steps for normal functioning of some body parts, including liver, kidney, muscle, skin, and nails.What do essential and trace mean? ESSENTIAL simply means that selenium is necessary, required for our body to function normally and TRACE means very small amounts of selenium are actually needed for usual needs.

Selenium has been shown to have antioxidant properties as well as having roles related to normal immune and thyroid functions. It is a part of the enzyme glutathione peroxidase, a substance that helps our body protect cell coverings from oxidative damage. It is present in foods such as wheat, fish, shellfish, organ meats, muscle meats, and whole grains. As noted earlier, only small amounts of selenium are needed daily (around 55 micrograms) and therefore, usual food intake will provide our usual selenium requirements.The usual multivitamin preparation likewise contains adequate amount of selenium. Supplementation with selenium therefore is not necessary unless a person has selenium deficiency.

What happens then when one takes extra amount of selenium that is, as a supplement, on top of regular dietary intake? Overdose or toxicity with selenium is not common since the upper limit for intake of selenium is set at 400 micrograms daily. This means you need large doses to get to this level and get symptoms, like vomiting, fatigue, hair loss, diarrhea, irritability or abdominal cramps.This does not usually happen because again, usual intake of selenium is well below 400 micrograms daily.

THE NEXT IMPORTANT CONCERN THEN IS WHAT ABOUT THE USUAL SELENIUM SUPPLEMENT AND THE RISK OF DIABETES. It is but wise to address this clearly. Fortunately, there is a good study that will help us answer this question. Selenium supplements around 200 micrograms daily have been shown to increase the risk of developing diabetes in a recent report of a seven-year follow-up of 1,202 patients.

THE BOTTOM LINE, therefore, is there appears to be no additional benefit gained when one takes extra dose of selenium above usual intake from our diet. In fact, there is indeed a possibility that extra selenium can cause harm, such as possible risk of diabetes. Our advice is that up to this time, no dietary supplement, whether beta-carotene, vitamin E or selenium, has been shown to be useful and safe for prevention of heart disease or cancer. We all need to continue the usual well-proven healthy lifestyle if we want to prevent diseases.

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