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Selenium is a mineral found in some foods and water. It is an antioxidant that also plays important roles in metabolism.

Because it is required in small amounts, most healthy people have enough amounts. Thus, selenium deficiency is very rare, however, in some conditions such as Crohn’s disease, HIV, or people fed intravenously, low levels do occur requiring supplementation.

In supplementary intake, the safe upper limit is 400 micrograms/day. Sources of selenium include fresh and saltwater fish (red snapper, herring, tuna), beef, poultry, grains, and nuts.


A naturally occurring mineral that many healthy people can obtain from dietary sources.


May interact with some medications such as birth control pills, chemotherapy, and cholesterol-lowering pills. Supplementation may also be associated with squamous cell carcinoma of the skin.

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