Kristen Zaier, ​​Plant-Based RD

Deficiency Symptoms


  • ​Predisposition to heart disease and possibly cancer


Toxicity Symptoms


  • Digestive disorders

  • Loss of hair or nails

  • Nervous system disorders

  • Tooth damage


Notes


  • Selenium deficiency is rare in the U.S. and in most countries except for China 

  • Adults can meet their selenium needs by eating just 1 Brazil nut per day!

  • Notice that the  Upper Safe Limit is relatively low compared to the RDA so you could easily overdo it on the Brazil nuts

Selenium

References used for all of the nutrient pages can be found at the bottom of the Nutrition Facts page. Click here.

How Much Selenium Do I Need?


  • RDA for Adults is 55 mcg/d

  • Upper Safe Limit for Adults is 400 mcg/d


Why Do I Need Selenium?


  • Selenium is part of an enzyme system that works with vitamin E as an antioxidant

  • Selenium also works with an enzyme that converts thyroid hormone to its active form


Plant-Based Sources


  • Like all minerals, selenium content in plants depends on the selenium content of the soil in which it was grown

  • In the U.S. the richest plant sources of selenium are found in whole grains, nuts and seeds while fruits and vegetables tend to be low in selenium


Food

Selenium Content (mcg)

Brazil nut, 1 nut

96

Brazil nuts, 1/4 cup

637 

Sunflower seeds, 1/4 cup

25

Tahini (sesame seed butter), 1 tbsp

5

Whole wheat bread, 1 slice

8

Wheat germ, toasted, 1/4 cup

18

Brown rice, cooked, 1 cup

19

Quinoa, cooked, 1 cup

5

Quaker quick oats, 1/2 cup

14

Granola, 1 cup

34