Ask the Pharmacist: 5 mind-blowing reasons you should take selenium

Suzy Cohen
Selenomethionine is a high-quality form of selenium that is also the main form of selenium occurring in Brazil nuts, cereal grains and soybeans.

The Greek word “selene” means moon, and that’s where the trace mineral selenium gets its name. The most interesting part of selenium is that it’s sometimes used in dyes and paints to color things red.

Plants growing on Earth take up selenium into their roots. They get it from the soil and then it’s put into the food chain, and we obtain it through diet.

Selenomethionine is a high-quality form of selenium that is also the main form of selenium occurring in Brazil nuts, cereal grains and soybeans.

Why would anyone want more selenium? The main reason would be selenium’s powerful antioxidant properties. It helps neutralize free radicals by making two special detoxification enzymes: Catalase and Glutathione. Both of those enzymes are major players in terms of detoxification. You’d die within minutes without them.

But there are five other mind-blowing reasons you should consider selenium: 

Selenium helps with breast cancer

Aside from selenium being a strong antioxidant which is useful in cancer situation, there is new research published in the journal, Nutrients (May 2019). Apparently, selenium is capable of alleviating lymphedema, commonly associated with breast cancer. Lymphedema simply refers to the swelling that occurs in the arms and legs. Seventy-five percent of participants showed lymphedema improvement in just two weeks. 

Selenium helps with the brain

The ability to neutralize oxidants which attack the brain helps reduce your personal risk of cognitive decline. Several selenium-derived proteins termed “selenoproteins” are expressed in brain. We also know that both detoxification enzymes, glutathione and catalase, are present in glial cells. Glial cells feed and protect nerve cells. Selenium is needed to keep those glial cells healthy. 

Selenium helps control hemochromatosis

A genetic condition, overload of iron (hemochromatosis) is sometimes misdiagnosed and inadequately treated. Iron concentrations were slightly higher (up to 2 and a half times higher) in selenium deficient rodents. The “Transferrin Saturation” with iron was almost twice as high in selenium deficient rodents, compared to those with normal levels of selenium.

Selenium helps make thyroid hormone

Selenium has been shown in several clinical trials over the past few decades to slow the progression of, and reduce symptoms of thyroid illness. It’s needed for the enzymes that convert inactive thyroxine T4 to biologically active T3 and it’s needed to reduce TPO antibodies. Also, selenium might help with Graves' eye problems, termed orbitopathy. 

Selenium for PCOS

Selenium has insulin-like properties which means it can help with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome or PCOS. A new article published in the journal, Molecules (April 2019) suggests it may help with insulin resistance. There’s a definite correlation between low selenium leading to hypothyroidism, then leading to PCOS. Labs don’t usually pick this disorder up. Please grab a copy of my best-seller, Thyroid Healthy to learn more about thyroid conditions.

If you’d like more information on selenium, PCOS or dosing information, just sign up for my free newsletter at and I’ll send you the longer version of this article. 

Suzy Cohen is a registered pharmacist. The information presented here is not intended to treat, cure or diagnose any condition. Visit