Should I Take the Supplement Selenium?


Casual woman smilingSelenium is a trace element similar to the chemical copper and is found in foods, water, and in dietary supplements.  Whether you should take selenium as a dietary supplement depends on several factors regarding your state of health and your autoimmune condition.

Selenium has been proven to be necessary for the heart to function correctly.  It has also shown properties in preventing some cancers as well as improves the health of the immune system.  Most clinicians agree that the benefits of selenium in regards to autoimmune disease are positive, but not all agree on oral supplementation.

If selenium reduces inflammation, could I possibly need less medication to control autoimmune symptoms?

Selenium has been shown to improve the immune system and to reduce damage to the thyroid gland.  Some believe it may even repair the thyroid and aid in improving autoimmune conditions related to Thyroiditis by regulating production of the reactive oxygen species and their metabolites.  However, caution should be used in prescribing oral supplements rather than including natural selenium in a balanced diet because of the possibility of toxicity.  The reduction of inflammation when taking oral selenium may be noted but reducing other medications should be managed by your physician based on current symptoms.  Currently there is not enough evidence based clinical trials to suggest that reducing other medications would be the norm.

How long will I need to take selenium before noticing any benefits or side effects?

Toxic effects of selenium may be noted if adequate amounts of selenium are being consumed by diet.  Foods that contain selenium include Brazil nuts, tuna, halibut, salmon, and turkey.  It is recommended to get 55 micrograms per day of the trace element and no more than 200 mcg per day with supplements.  Other lifestyle and health conditions may affect the benefits of oral selenium.  Smoking has shown to be a resistance factor when taking selenium and should be avoided for maximum benefits of the supplement.

Questions for your doctor:

  • What can I expect to experience when taking selenium supplements?
  • What other blood tests will be required to monitor selenium levels and my thyroid health while taking selenium supplements?
  • What is your opinion of taking supplemental selenium for autoimmune conditions and do you think it is worth trying to benefit my symptoms?

If you’ve taken selenium, we’d love to hear about it.  Did it work for you?  How long did it take to work, and did you experience a large or small benefit to your symptoms?


About the Author
Terri Forehand is a critical care nurse and freelance writer. She is the author The Cancer Prayer Book and a soon to be released picture book titled The ABC’s of Cancer According to Lilly Isabella Lane.  She writes from her home where she lives with her husband and an array of rescue dogs nestled in the hills of Brown County, Indiana.  Her website is:


This post contains opinions of the author. is not a medical practice and does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.  It is your responsibility to seek diagnosis, treatment, and advice from qualified providers based on your condition and particular circumstances.  Camino Real Ventures, Inc., the company that makes available to you, does not endorse nor recommend any products, practices, treatment methods, tests, physicians, service providers, procedures, clinical trials, opinions or information available on this website.  Your use of the website is subject to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy





  1. Selenium-I have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism. I have run the gambit with the Synthroids and Tirosints at various levels for the past year. Initially felt better on the lower doses…but it always ended up where I felt horrible again and had daily headaches or migraines. I began to research on line and found that Selenium is beneficial as a supplement to my other vitamins, promoting antioxidants, 200mcg daily…I combine with Vit E, Vit B-12 and a multi vitamin. I am hoping this helps aid my daily “flu-like” symptoms from hypothyroidism. My pharmacist also suggested that I look into another supplement, in small doses, of sea salt iodine.
    What do you think? How might I determine whether or not the Selenium is working?
    Thank you.

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