Selenium (Se)

Selenium (Se) is an essential element, but it is also one of the most toxic when exposure is excessive. Low Se levels in the body are reflective of dietary intake and associated with cardiovascular disorders. Many times, Se levels show high in the hair because anti-dandruff and sulfur-containing shampoos contain high levels of Se.  Elevated hair Se is almost always from external contamination, and just one exposure to a Se containing anti-dandruff shampoo will elevate Se hair levels.

Se is an extremely important anti-oxidant, and it has important qualities that bind and “inactivate” mercury. Se is an essential co-factor in the deiodination of T4 to T3 (thyroid hormone). In the body, T3 is produced outside the thyroid gland by deiodination of T4. Some conditions of hypothyroidism are, therefore, due to Se deficiency. If hypothyroidism is present, mercury levels are commonly high and Se levels low.

Low Se levels commonly result from:

  1. low dietary intake
  2. low levels of vitamin E
  3. toxic metals
  4. pesticides/herbicide exposure
  5. chemical solvent exposure

Symptoms of Se deficiency and toxic exposure:

  1. heart disease
  2. cancer
  3. asthma
  4. muscle aches
  5. increased inflammatory responses
  6. weight loss
  7. alopecia
  8. listlessness
  9. bone and muscle degeneration
  10. depressed immune function
  11. red pigmentation in hair and nails
  12. garlic breath
  13. metallic taste in the mouth
  14. discoloration of skin and teeth

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About Dr. Janet Starr Hull

Janet Starr Hull, PhD, CN has been offering the hair analysis service since 1995. She is the leading expert in environmental toxicology and holistic health and nutrition. Dr. Hull is the first nutritionist to offer the hair analysis through the internet. Connect with Dr. Hull on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus.