The Best Time to Take Selenium: A Comprehensive Guide


The Best Time to Take Selenium: A Comprehensive Guide

Selenium is a vital mineral that plays a crucial role in various bodily functions. From supporting immune function to promoting reproductive health, selenium offers numerous benefits for overall well-being. However, many people are unsure about the best time to take selenium supplements for maximum effectiveness. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the importance of selenium, its recommended daily intake, and the optimal timing for supplementation.

Understanding Selenium and Its Benefits

Selenium is a trace mineral that is essential for the proper functioning of the body. Despite being required in small amounts, selenium plays a significant role in several key processes. Here are some of the notable benefits of selenium:

1. Immune Function

Selenium is widely distributed in immune tissues, such as the liver, spleen, and lymph nodes. Low levels of selenium have been associated with impaired immune cell function, including B cells, T cells, lymphocytes, and natural killer (NK) cells [^1]. By ensuring an adequate selenium intake, you can support your immune system's ability to defend against pathogens and maintain optimal health.

2. Reproductive Health

Selenium is particularly important for men's reproductive health. It is necessary for proper sperm function, including sperm morphology, growth, development, and motility [^2]. Higher selenium levels have been linked to improved fertility and testosterone biosynthesis, making it an essential nutrient for men looking to support their reproductive system.

3. Thyroid Function

The thyroid gland contains the highest concentration of selenium in the body. Selenium-dependent enzymes play a crucial role in converting thyroid hormones, known as T3 and T4, which are essential for regulating body temperature, energy metabolism, and muscle function [^1]. A deficiency in selenium, along with iodine, can exacerbate hypothyroidism, highlighting the importance of adequate selenium intake for proper thyroid function.

4. Cell Health and Inflammation

Selenium acts as a powerful antioxidant, protecting cells from free radical damage and reducing levels of inflammation. Selenium-dependent enzymes, such as glutathione peroxidase (GPx), thioredoxin reductase (TrxR), and iodothyronine deiodinases (IDD), are involved in the synthesis of antioxidant compounds that safeguard cellular health [^3]. By ensuring sufficient selenium levels, you can promote cell integrity and combat oxidative stress.

5. Mood and Cognitive Function

Research suggests that selenium plays a role in brain health and mood regulation. Low selenium levels have been associated with altered turnover rates of certain neurotransmitters, potentially increasing the risk of depression, anxiety, and confusion [^1][^4]. By maintaining optimal selenium levels, you can support overall cognitive function and emotional well-being.

Recommended Daily Intake of Selenium

The recommended daily intake of selenium varies based on age, gender, and specific circumstances. According to the German Society for Nutrition (DGE), the following guidelines are generally recommended:

  • Adult men: 70 micrograms of selenium per day
  • Adult women: 60 micrograms of selenium per day
  • Breastfeeding mothers: 75 micrograms of selenium per day [^1]

It is important to note that these values are general recommendations and may not apply to individuals with specific health conditions or increased selenium requirements due to illness. Factors such as age, weight, and height should also be taken into account when determining the optimal selenium intake for an individual.

Selenium Sources and Absorption

Selenium can be obtained from various dietary sources. Foods rich in selenium include brazil nuts, seafood, meat, poultry, eggs, and some plant-based sources like grains and legumes. However, the selenium content in plant-based sources can vary depending on the selenium content of the soil in which they are grown.

When it comes to selenium absorption, the upper small intestine is primarily responsible for absorbing this mineral. After absorption, selenium enters the bloodstream, where it is distributed to various tissues and organs, including the brain, kidney, and thyroid gland. Approximately 60% of selenium is found in the blood plasma, with half of it bound to proteins [^1].

It is worth noting that selenium absorption is enhanced when taken with a meal. If you experience difficulties taking selenium capsules or tablets on an empty stomach, it is recommended to take them with a meal to ensure optimal absorption.

The Best Time to Take Selenium Supplements

When it comes to the best time to take selenium supplements, there is no strict rule that applies to everyone. However, considering the absorption and distribution of selenium in the body, certain recommendations can be made.

If you have no specific digestive issues or concerns, taking selenium supplements in the morning, alongside your first meal of the day, is a suitable option. This allows for optimal absorption and utilization of selenium throughout the day.

Alternatively, if you prefer to take your supplements in the evening, there is no significant downside to doing so. Selenium is excreted from the stomach within 24 hours, but it accumulates in the thyroid gland and plays a vital role in immune function [^1]. Therefore, taking selenium supplements at night can still provide benefits, especially for the thyroid and immune system.

It is important to note that the timing of selenium supplementation should be consistent to maintain a steady level of selenium in the body. Whether you choose to take it in the morning or evening, the key is to establish a routine that works for you and stick to it.

Choosing High-Quality Selenium Supplements

When selecting selenium supplements, it is important to choose high-quality products from reputable brands. Look for supplements that contain pure selenium from mineral sources and are free from artificial additives. Reading customer reviews and consulting with healthcare professionals can also help you make an informed decision.

Additionally, incorporating a balanced diet that includes selenium-rich foods can further support your selenium intake. By combining a healthy diet with selenium supplementation, you can ensure optimal selenium levels and enjoy the associated health benefits.


Selenium is a crucial mineral that offers numerous benefits for overall health. From supporting immune function to promoting reproductive health and combating oxidative stress, selenium plays a vital role in various bodily processes. While the best time to take selenium supplements may vary from person to person, taking them in the morning or evening with a meal is generally recommended. By maintaining a consistent supplementation routine and choosing high-quality products, you can support your body's selenium levels and optimize its benefits.

Remember to consult with a healthcare professional or nutritionist to determine your specific selenium needs based on your individual circumstances. With proper guidance and a well-informed approach, you can make the most of selenium and its positive impact on your health.


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