Selenium is one of the essential trace elements and is involved in redox processes in the body, which is why it is often advertised as an anti-ageing miracle cure. On the other hand, it is toxic and carcinogenic in higher doses.
Selenium is found in food mainly in proteins as selenocysteine (animal) and selenomethionine (plant). Plants absorb the non-metal through the soil. Important sources of selenium are cereals, sea fish and meat products.
Are the natural sources of selenium from food sufficient to cover the need for the trace element or is targeted dietary supplementation necessary?
An expert commission of the BVL (Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety) and the BfArM (Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices) recently published an important statement on the classification of selenium (see weblink).
The experts' conclusion to the question is, in short, a "yes and no". Although the average intake in the German population is below the recommendation of the EFSA and the nutrition societies of the D-A-CH region, no clinically relevant selenium deficiency can be stated. The experts conclude that supplementation via food supplements with a daily dose of up to 50µg selenium can be nutritionally reasonable, but by no means more and over a longer period of time. However, high-dose preparations are classified as possibly not marketable with regard to safety and thus marketability according to Art 14 of Regulation (EC)178/2003, because the Tolerable Upper Intake Level of 300 µg/day derived by EFSA can be exceeded quite easily. The manufacturers of food supplements containing selenium are requested to include appropriate information on the label with the intake recommendations for adults. Children under the age of 10 should not be given such supplements because there is an increased risk of harmful overdose.
YOUR PLUS: The food and feed laboratories of the AGROLAB GROUP not only examine the composition of mineral and trace element mixtures, but also check the food supplements made from them for compliance with the specification values. Our experts assess the completeness and correctness of your information with regard to legal requirements and supplement recommendations.
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Author: Dr. Frank Mörsberger