Selenium is a vital trace mineral found in every cell of the body and is required for proper body function. The fact is that higher concentrations of this mineral is not needed, hence it is referred as a micro-nutrient. Although only small amounts are required on a daily basis, it is an essential nutrient for our body.


The antioxidant effects of selenium and vitamin E may reinforce each other by the overlap of their protective actions against oxidative damage. These two antioxidant nutrients may participate in other cooperative activities that help maintain healthy cells.

The selenium-­containing enzymes may have an  antioxidative role in preventing cancer. Many other seleno-proteins have been identified, but their functions have not yet been elucidated.

Food Sources and Intakes

The selenium concentration in foods depends on the selenium content of the soil and water where the food was grown.

Major food sources of selenium are Brazil nuts, seafood, kidney, liver, meat, and poultry.

Infants:    15­-20 mcg/day, depending on age
Young children:   20­-30 mcg/day, depending on age
Older children and adolescents: 40­-55 mcg/day, depending on age
Adults:    55 mcg/day
Pregnant:    60 mcg/day
Lactating:    70 mcg/day