Q: What’s your opinion on taking a selenium supplement? I’ve been taking one for years, but now I’m hearing that it might not be such a good thing. — M.C., Wilkes-Barre, Pa.
A: Beyond the selenium content in food and a multivitamin you might be taking, I would not advise taking any extra selenium.
Although selenium is a known anti-oxidant that had been thought to protect against cancer and heart disease, several recently published studies suggest that too much selenium may actually be harmful. One study published in the Aug. 21 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine showed that people receiving 200 micrograms of selenium daily might have a higher incidence of diabetes. Another recent study from the University of Warwick, England, found that taking too much selenium or consuming too much dietary selenium was associated with an 8 percent rise in total cholesterol and a 10 percent rise in triglycerides and LDL “bad” cholesterol levels.
Q: I have a burning sensation in my