High levels of selenium may increase type 2 diabetes risk

Selenium at high levels might increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, according to a Bloomberg News report on a scientific review published in The Lancet journal.

The study from University of Surrey in the UK warns that people who want to avoid increasing their risk of developing diabetes should avoid selenium supplements if their selenium levels are 122 micrograms per liter or higher in the blood.

People who take a 200 microgram daily dose of selenium for seven years have a 50 percent higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes than people on a placebo, according to a 2007 study at the Warwick Medical School in the UK.

Selenium is a trace mineral that is essential to good health but is required only in small amounts, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Selenium incorporates into proteins to make selenoproteins, important antioxidant enzymes. Selenoproteins help prevent cellular damage from free radicals that may contribute to developing cancer and heart disease.

Other selenoproteins help regulate thyroid function and play a role in the immune system, according to NIH.

“Over the last 10 years, the use of selenium supplements has become widespread, largely due to the belief that selenium can reduce the risk of cancer and other diseases,” according to The Lancet. “But the evidence also suggests that selenium has a narrow therapeutic range and at high levels might have harmful effects such as increasing the risk of type 2 diabetes.”

Food sources
Plant foods grown in selenium-rich soil are the major sources of naturally occuring selenium. Some meats and seafood also have the mineral. The selenium content in food depends on the mineral content of the soil where plants are grown or animals graze.

Brazil nuts have a particularly high level of selenium and should be eaten only occasionally. Other food sources of selenium include tuna, cod, turkey, chicken breast, sunflower seeds, pasta, eggs, oatmeal, and cottage cheese.

Selenium intake is higher in the US, Canada and Japan. Intake is lower in Europe. Selenium deficiency is rare in the US but seen in other countries like China, where soil concentration of selenium is low and consumers eat only locally grown foods.

Selenium deficiency makes the body more susceptible to illnesses caused by other nutritional, biochemical or infectious stresses, according to NIH.

Selenium deficiency may contribute to developing hypothyroidism, a heart disease called Keshan Disease, and a weakened immune system.

Sources: National Institutes of Health, Bloomberg News

Get A Free 7 Day Diabetes Meal Plan

Get a free 7-Day Diabetes Meal Plan from Constance Brown-Riggs who is a Registered Dietitian-Certified Diabetes Educator and who is also a national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.

Just enter in your email below to download your free Diabetes Meal Plan.

By clicking Submit, you agree to send your info to InformationAboutDiabetes.com who may contact you with updates and information and we agree to use it according to our privacy policy.

More Articles

Chamomile tea has long been prized for its calming properties, but few people realize it’s also beneficial for glucose regulation. Traditionally,...

Matcha tea is a rich, creamy, full-bodied beverage with amazing nutritional properties that address several diabetes health concerns. The trace...

One way to ensure our body gets a variety of nutrients is eating nutrient-dense foods, and one of the most nutrient-dense foods on our planet is...

It would be interesting to know how many people with diabetes actually use blood glucose control solutions to regularly check the accuracy of...

A mood is an internal state or condition of feeling. It colors everything else we experience, much like colored sunglasses add a tint to...

More Articles

Although diabetes is common, many people who have been diagnosed do not completely understand how it develops or whether it is hereditary....

With such a marked increase in the number of new diabetes cases, more people are wondering if type 1 diabetes...

It would be interesting to know how many people with diabetes actually use blood glucose control solutions to regularly check the accuracy of...

Any sweetener you use to replace table sugar is a sugar substitute. One type of sugar substitute is artificial sweetener. Three other types...

One way to ensure our body gets a variety of nutrients is eating nutrient-dense foods, and one of the most nutrient-dense foods on our planet is...

Diabetes is a health condition that disrupts the body’s normal production of insulin. Currently, more than one million Americans are diagnosed...

The HbA1c blood test, more commonly known as the A1C, is both a very useful and a very cool calculation of your average blood glucose levels over...

Chamomile tea has long been prized for its calming properties, but few people realize it’s also beneficial for glucose regulation. Traditionally,...

A mood is an internal state or condition of feeling. It colors everything else we experience, much like colored sunglasses add a tint to...

Oil pulling therapy derives from Ayurveda, a holistic healing system developed thousands of years ago in India. Ayurvedic medicine maintains that...

The different sugar content of fruits can be confusing when you are trying to manage your...

A diabetes meal plan is a guide indicating what types of foods, and how much of them, people should eat at meal and snack time. Following a meal...

Fluid retention, also known as edema, is a problem that affects many diabetics, especially those with type 2 diabetes...

Because it is Peripheral Neuropathy Awareness Week (May 7-13), this article is about a device people with neuropathy may not be aware of—a device...

The most convenient places in a fridge to store our stock of insulin may not be the best places. We tend to think our refrigerators maintain a...