Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.

Should I Stop Taking Selenium?

Wednesday, 23 June 2010 09:13 AM

Question: I take 200 micrograms of selenium a day to help prevent cancer, but I just read that selenium supplements could cause diabetes. What is your opinion?

Dr. Hibberd's Answer:

My advice to you is to discontinue selenium supplementation. The risk of selenium deficiency in the United States is negligible, because most people in this country receive adequate selenium from their diet. Taking selenium supplements on top of an adequate dietary intake may increase the risk for diabetes.

Recent randomized studies where participants were supplemented with 200 micrograms daily, confirmed a 55 percent greater risk of developing Type 2 diabetes among those who received selenium supplementation. The diabetes risk was discovered after an eight-year follow-up.

Selenium is a trace element, and we need very little. It has a narrow therapeutic range (translate this to mean very risky to supplement), and it can be toxic (translate this to mean dangerous). Do not micromanage supplementation. It usually does more harm than good, and may actually be unsafe. Do not listen to vitamin salespeople for guidance. Vitamins are drugs.
Ask your doctor!

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