The human organism needs selenium daily for the maintenance of health. Since the body cannot build the essential trace element, nutrition should have priority with regard to the selenium supply. If food is not sufficient to cover the selenium demand – due to e.g. unbalanced nutrition – or the selenium demand is increased, it can be reasonable to supplement the daily nutrition with selenium.
Especially in times of high physical strain, in case of stress, in one's old age, during pregnancy and lactation, our body may need more selenium and often is not supplied sufficiently with the micronutrient. Furthermore, certain population groups (e.g. persons with chronic absorption and digestive disorders, vegetarians, vegans) frequently do not take in sufficient selenium via nutrition. Likewise, wrong nutritional habits can contribute to selenium deficits.
Persons, tending to a selenium undersupply*:
- persons with chronic digestive and absorption disorders, in case of severe diarrhea, in case of misuse of laxatives.
- pregnant women and breast-feeding mothers.
- persons with high physical strain (therapies, diseases, sportsmen and stress).
- patients with long-term total parenteral nutrition.
- patients receiving special nutrition (PKU).
- dialysis patients.
- in case of very unbalanced nutrition (alcoholics, seniors).
- in case of hunger states (diets).
- in case of eating disorders (anorexia, bulimia nervosa).
- strong vegetarians, vegans.
- in case of severe blood losses (menstruation, hemorrhoidal bleedings, injuries).
[*acc. to Umweltbundesamt (German Federal Environmental Agency). Selen und Human-Biomitoring. Bundesgesundheitsblatt-Gesundheitsforschung-Gesundheitsschutz 45 2002) 2, 190-195]