Exceeding the upper tolerable levels of selenium is fraught with many overdose side effects.While it is being advised to take adequate levels of the essential trace mineral selenium either through food or through supplements, there is a lurking danger of overdose and side effects by taking too much of it.
Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) of selenium and its overdoseWhen blood levels of this essential trace mineral exceed 100 μg (mcg or micrograms per one deciliter (dL) of blood, selenosis, an excess of the mineral condition with many side effects is caused. Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) has been set by The Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, for preventing the risks of selenosis, at 400 micro-grams per day for adults.
Tolerable Upper Intake Levels for Infants, Children, and Adults.
|Age||Males and Females (μg/day)|
|0 - 6 months||45|
|7 - 12 months||60|
|19 years +||400|
Causes of selenium overdoseNormally we get sufficient of this mineral from our diet. The situation of excess can occur in the following circumstances.
Excess presence in soil and food.
Soils in different regions of the world contain varying levels of selenium.
Foods grown in very high selenium bearing soils have too much of it and cause selenosis.
A typical example is the case in China where people suffered selenosis when they consumed corn grown on carbonaceous shale which was extremely rich in selenium (as much much as 9%).
Self medication and excess and unregulated use of supplements
Use of selenium supplements without proper analysis of the requirement can lead to excess consumption and overdose. Frequent use of Brazil nuts and other foods very rich in the mineral can lead too much accumulation of it in the body causing the health problems.
Selenium side effects on consuming too much of itSide effects of consumption of too much of this mineral include garlic odor in breath, lung problems, breathlessness gastrointestinal irritation, stomach upsets, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, fatigue, muscle cramps, restlessness, listlessness, dementia, behavioral problems, metallic taste in the mouth, hair loss, skin inflammation, tooth decay, and fingernail discoloration.
Other problems on too much of this mineral are damage to nervous system, impairment of liver, impairment of kidney, thyroid malfunction, jaundice, dermatitis, birth defects, and stunting of growth. In extreme cases fever and damage to lung and heart occur and may result in mortality.
Relief, treatment and cure from selenium side effectsTreating selenosis starts with removing the causative factor. The patient is made to drink sufficient water to flush out the excess reducing the problems. There is no antidote for this mineral. In severe overdose cases hospitalization is necessary for the convalescence of the patient and for the treatment.
Selenium overdose and side effects(current topic).