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High Dose Selenium Significantly Improves My Fatigue and Brain Fog

Discussion in 'General Treatment' started by Hip, Jan 5, 2014.

  1. justy

    justy Senior Member

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    Hi Hip, an interesting discussion. I find that daily selenium and vitamin C taken together have a beneficial effect, but are not curative. I had mito testing with Dr Myhill and she found i had a very messed up antioxidant system with a blockage on the MnSODase gene. But it seems that no amount of antioxidants really budges my symptoms that much, and i wonder why my system is so messed up in the first place.

    I was under the impression, and have read extensively on selenium, that the safe upper limit is 400mcg a day. Dr Myhill recommends 200mcg a day for a safe maintenance dose, but 400mcg a day for those with deficiencies, but for a few months only. I take this advice to heart as she is not normally overly cautious with dosing and prefers her patients to rectify problem with the highest possible dose of most supplements.

    I notice people on this thread bandying around very high doses and also someone sayine we all try supplements, they cant do any harm.

    Let me remind everyone reading this thread that selenium toxicity can be fatal. It can build up in the body and cause death. I'm not saying people shouldnt take it - i wish i could safely take more. But we need to be aware that we are not discussing some slight unpleasant side effect here.

    All the best,
    Justy

    @Hip sorry to point out that some of your sources are from Wikipedia, which is not a reliable source.
  2. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    I take it you are referring to my earlier statement that selenium toxicity begins to occur only after months of dosing at 2,400 to 3,000 mcg, which comes from this Wikipedia article. The Wikipedia article itself refers to this review study to back up this statement. Unfortunately, that study in not freely available in full online, just the abstract, and without having the full paper, it is not possible to check this statement.

    In any case, some research by the journal Nature found that Wikipedia was almost as reliable as the encyclopedia Britannica for scientific data and facts.

    There are also other sources we can check regarding the toxic dose for selenium: the Linus Pauling Institute says this about selenium:
    And this study which I quoted earlier sets 800 mcg of selenium per day as the mean highest intake for which there were no adverse effects (though that's the average; in some individuals it may be lower than 800 mcg).

    I am not suggesting that people should venture much above 400 mcg of selenium daily. I personally found that 400 mcg a day was the optimum dose in terms of ameliorating my ME/CFS symptoms. Anyone who ventures to take more than 600 to 800 mcg daily should be aware that they are leaving the safe zone of dosing, and I don't recommend this. But the data indicates that selenium toxicity will not begin until you hit doses of several thousand micrograms daily for long periods.
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2014
    justy likes this.
  3. jeffrez

    jeffrez Senior Member

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    Took 200mcg for about a year, didn't notice anything, but thyroid labs got a little worse. Will try the higher dose for a while, see if it helps. Is there a concern with Se in the water supply perhaps adding to the dose? Or are the levels there usually too small?
  4. helios

    helios

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    Hip, that's great that you get a noticeable improvement from selenium. I was put on this by a CFS doc a number of years ago and I cant say I noticed any difference. It still might have been helping me, but I just was not perceivable. I can't remember what dose, but doubt it was as high as yours.
    I take Brazil nuts as well on and off during the year for their selenium content. I only take them for say 4 days every few weeks so I am not getting to the consistent 10 day stage of noticeable improvement that you say is needed. I would love it if you could do a test and swap your selenium supplement for a handful of Brazil nuts daily for a few weeks to see if you still notice the benefits. Anything that improves my brain fog / cognition will be very welcome.
  5. helios

    helios

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    Justy - someone posted a link to 'Sodium Selenite: An Alternative Treatment for Cancers'. In that article it said taking vitamin C together with selenium negatively impacted (a LOT) on selenium absorption.
  6. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    You can use Brazil nuts if you like: six to eight Brazil nuts taken every day will give you the suggested 400 mcg daily dose of selenium.

    That only applies to sodium selenite. I don't think vitamin C affects the absorption of the selenomethionine form of selenium.

    It says here that "for most parts of the world, the concentration of selenium in drinking water will not exceed 10 mcg per liter."

    So selenium in drinking water is only going to provide a 10 to 20 mcg of selenium a day, except if you happen to live in an unusual area where there is high selenium in the water.

    It is actually quite easy to miss the benefits of selenium, since these kick in at about the 10 day stage. If you don't pay attention around this 10 day point, you can easily miss any improvements selenium is providing.

    I find that most supplements or drugs that are beneficial for ME/CFS kick in quickly — often within hours, or a day or two later — and because of this immediacy, it is easier to observe their benefits.

    But because the symptomatic improvements deriving from selenium take longer to appear, you have to make a note to yourself, to remind you to observe your symptoms 10 days down the line.

    In my case, I originally tried a course of selenium supplementation several times, I was myself not astute enough to notice its benefits. Fortunately though, an acquaintance with ME/CFS tried selenium, and he was sharp enough to observe the improvements in his fatigue levels.

    This acquaintance told me: "I took selenium for a few weeks and I began feeling better. It wasn't instant but gradual. I now feel as though I have a lot more energy than I did. On hearing this report, then decided to try selenium again myself, but this time I was very careful to note any effects that might appear over the subsequent weeks. This is how I was able to observe that selenium does noticeably improve my energy levels and brain fog, after around 10 days.
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2014
  7. Asklipia

    Asklipia Senior Member

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    Hi Hip,
    I don't agree with you on this.
    We used to take selenium in a melatonin supplement at 50 mcg of selenomethione. Whether it was the selenium or the melatonin which was effective was impossible to ascertain.
    We do not take this anymore (not taking anything in fact for the last few months).
    For research purposes the day before yesterday we both took 200 mcg L-selenomethionine NOW brand) and both felt a very strong effect.

    Vivid dreams, even more mental energy, something happening behind the eyes.
    So we can say that the effect is immediate for us.
    Be well!
    Asklipia
  8. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    @Asklipia
    Who is "we".
    I have never heard of selenium causing vivid dreams. Vivid dreams are however a well known effect of taking vitamin B12 just before bed.

    But in any case, vivid dreams are not the same as the improvements in ME/CFS fatigue and brain fog that I am talking about, which several people have obtained from selenium. I suspect that if you do see these improvements in ME/CFS, they will manifest gradually, and you may first notice these after around 10 days.
  9. Asklipia

    Asklipia Senior Member

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    Two people as said above : "both". I don't really understand your question.

    We do not take vitamin B12 in any form except from what is in our food.
    I assure you that the increase in dreams for both of us was noticeable.

    Vivid dreams might well be an improvement in melatonin levels or utilization. Which can be consistent with improvement in ME/CFS fatigue and brain fog. We do not have any fatigue or brain fog anymore, so obviously cannot report on their disappearance.

    Whatever selenium is doing, it is starting to do it from day one. It brain fog is present, it might be more difficult to notice the effect?
    I am certainly not trying to disprove any theory here, just to bring our experience in case it comes in useful. The fact that you never heard of selenium causing vivid dreams is not a proof that it does not happen!
    Be well!
    Asklipia
  10. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    I mean who are these two people? Yourself and a partner perhaps? Do you both have ME/CFS? You say neither of you now has fatigue or brain fog anymore, suggesting that you are both in remission from ME/CFS.

    I am of course not suggesting that selenium cannot have some immediate effects. I myself for example will get irritability side effects from 800 mcg of selenium within an hour or two of taking it, which is an immediate effect.

    However, in terms of the improvements in fatigue and brain fog that selenium seems to provide some ME/CFS patients, from the experiences of myself and two other patients that got these benefits, these improvements only start to appear gradually, and you need to be aware of this, otherwise you may not notice them.
  11. minkeygirl

    minkeygirl Senior Member

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    I am nauseated from taking the selenium on an empty stomach. Anyone else have that problem?
  12. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    You mentioned above that you were already taking selenium, minkeygirl; what dose were you originally taking, and how much did you up this dose, resulting in nausea?

    Are you taking the recommended yeast-free selenomethionine form of selenium, by the way?


    Myself, I used to get some stomach pains for 20 or 30 minutes when taking zinc supplements (50 mg of zinc picolinate) on an empty stomach, but I think this was caused by low stomach acid, and taking some betaine HCl stomach acid supplement with my zinc eased these symptoms. I wonder whether it might be advisable for all ME/CFS patients to take some betaine HCl with their regular daily supplements, as many ME/CFS patients have low stomach acid, and so may not be properly absorbing their supplements. Juice from a lemon is an alternative to betaine HCl.
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2014
  13. minkeygirl

    minkeygirl Senior Member

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    I had been taking 200 mcg with all my other supplements with dinner with no problem.

    I added another 200 mcg and took on an empty stomach since someone here said you should take it without food. yes I'm taking the correct form.

    I will say, I don't feel as horrible today as I expected because of bad sleep. Whether it's the selenium or not is hard to say, but I'd like to figure this out. I HATE being nauseated.
  14. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    @minkeygirl
    Well maybe you should go back to taking your selenium with food. I've read that an empty stomach is better for selenium absorption, but I cannot find any precise data on selenium absorption rates on an empty stomach versus on a full stomach.

    It says here that "it is thought that 55-60% of the selenium in food is absorbed following ingestion."
  15. minkeygirl

    minkeygirl Senior Member

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    Thanks Hip. I read somewhere up in this thread that someone said take without food so I did. One thing I may try is taking 200 mcg vs the entire 400. One a.m. and one p.m. I gotta wait til this nausea passes.

    If that doesn't work then I'll take it with food. I did have about 1/2 hour where I had some clarity, but now back to fog.
  16. taniaaust1

    taniaaust1 Senior Member

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    I want to say I too have the same concerns as justy and alex have.

    My integrative doctor (who of cause into treating things with vitamins, minerals etc) in the past was concerned when he found out I was taking selenium. He said it is something which can become quite toxic.
    He hasnt thou made me stop the dose Im taking.. which is 150micrograms daily long term. I'd like to say that this dose my body did need (I was borderline low previously before I started taking it) and it has done wonders for my hair and nails (before I started taking this, my hair was impossible to grow more).

    Taking just 150micrograms per day (I was taking for a year but dont know at what point it did this during that year), has put my selenium level in the middle of the middle range. Going by the amount it went up on testing, with taking this dose, if I doubled that dose eg went to taking 300micrograms, it would put my Selenium level up to the high range.

    Anyway.. seeing doctors like this (my doctor and dr Myhill) are warning.. I do think those here need to be very careful about it (someone could already have a diet high in selenium and end up with far too much.. thou yeah, soils are often deficient). Too much selenium can be fatal.
    ..........
    I take Selenium Forte Oral Spray by BioCeutical (which has a natural peppermint flavour. I like this form as I was so fed up with taking tablets). Its Selenomethionine.

    That's very interesting. I know I was low (and probably still am) in glutathione.
    justy likes this.
  17. taniaaust1

    taniaaust1 Senior Member

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    I just throu my Nutrition notes from my Naturopathy collage (gov accrediated course) to see what that said for another opinion I feel I can trust.

    It says in those notes that the RDA for adults for selenium is 50-200mg depending on diet, preganancy, workplace etc.

    It says the therapeutic dose.. maximum is 800mcg FOR TERMINAL ILLNESS (so I guess its not something one would at all try long term at all or even short term unless one has nothing to loose from doing so).

    Vitamin/mineral supplements can be just as harmful as prescription drugs. Would you take a prescription drug double the recommended dose and plan to do so long term without any doctors monitoring?
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2014
  18. undcvr

    undcvr Senior Member

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    Again, going back to the forms of Se out there, there are basically 2 kinds, organic and inorganic. Inorganic Se is Sodium Selenite and Selenate. Inorganic Se is excreted by the body rite away after being metabolised and the organic ones methionine and cysteine take longer to excrete. The reason for this is when the Se is absorbed, bound to an amino acid, the body cannot recognise it. It is actually taken up as an amino acid and gets absorbed (and used) into tissue that needs that amino acid. We don't want this to happen we want the Se to be avail to make real selenoproteins, especially the ezymes that depend on Se to work.

    Another point is that Se can bind to Mercury (Hg), its one of the few things that can bind to Hg and take it out of circulation in the body.

    *An organic compound is basically anything thing that has a carbon (C) atom in it.

    The form of Se it is in is really very important in fact, the most popular one, selenomethionine may turn out to be the most toxic one becos it is stored the longest.
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2014
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  19. xrunner

    xrunner Senior Member

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    Anybody taking it (I used to for some time) may find this extract from Buhner's book on Lyme helpful. It is in the context of a protocol for neuroborreliosis which includes resveratrol, selenium, zinc, copper and melatonin. (that was the 2005 ed.)

    "Selenium has been tested in vitro and in vivo and found specifically active in protecting the central nervous system against different markers of QUIN-induced neurotoxicity. (QUIN is quinolinic acid a potent neurotoxin that in HIV infection is associated with cerebral volume loss.) QUIN is produced by the brain macrophages in response to microbial infection).
    Selenium is however only partially protective showing protection in specific areas of the brain but not all those affected by QUIN.
    It decreases oxidative impacts in synaptosomes in the striatum and hippocampus but not in the cortex, and significantly attenuates striatal GABA depletion and the ratio of neuronal damage".

    Dosage 200-400mcg

    Cautions: 400 mcg is the highest dose that should be used as side effects begin to occur beyond this range. The best average daily dose in Lyme is 200mcg.

    Side effects: nausea, vomiting, emotional instability. Through a number of mechanisms selenium may deplete the body's levels of zinc and copper. It should be taken with a zinc/copper supplement.
    Little Bluestem, justy and Hip like this.
  20. Snowdrop

    Snowdrop Senior Member

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    @undcvr
    Do you have a particular recommended brand of supplement?
    And given what xrunner says in post #39 do you also supplement with zinc and copper too?
    @xrunner
    Do you have any notion of whether titrating up to a maximum dose helps with side effects?
    Thanks,
    SD

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