Selenium is an essential mineral — it’s not a novel compound with very little research behind it, it demonstrably plays an important role in the body’s antioxidant capabilities. In other words, it can be a useful tool for those looking to minimize inflammation.

While it’s available in seafood, Brazil nuts, brown rice, and animal products, not everybody meets their recommended daily intake. Note that it is possible to have too much selenium, but the upper limit appears to be in the area of 1,500 micrograms, more than 25 time the RDI. If you want to keep your bases covered and ensure you’re getting your daily 55 micrograms, these are the best supplements on the market. 

best selenium supplements

Best Overall

Doctor’s Best Coq10 Plus Selenium Yeast

Doctor’s Best uses yeast in their supplement, which absorbs selenium and converts it into the form that’s naturally found in foods. They’ve also combined it with Coq10, an antioxidant that can be low in older folks or those taking cholesterol-lowering drugs.

Pros

  • The yeast creates a natural form of selenium that’s found in whole foods.
  • The capsules are vegan friendly.
  • The product contains Coq10, further enhancing its antioxidant strength.

Cons

  • This product isn’t friendly on yeast allergies.
  • Coq10 comes in the form of ubiquinone, which is oxidized — some prefer ubiquinol, but there’s not a lot of evidence suggesting one is less effective than the other.
Doctor’s Best Coq10 Plus Selenium Yeast
Doctor’s Best Coq10 Plus Selenium Yeast
Doctor’s Best Coq10 Plus Selenium Yeast

Yeast is used to create a natural form of selenium, which is combined with Coq10 to enhance its antioxidant strength.

Runner Up

Nutricost Selenium 200mcg

Nutricost has produced a great supplement that’s yeast free and its source of the mineral is selenomethionine, which current evidence favors over other forms of the mineral. The capsules are also vegan, plus it’s third party tested for purity and label accuracy.

Pros

  • This supplement uses a very well-researched and easily absorbable form of selenium.
  • As they’re yeast free, the capsules are suitable for those with yeast allergies, as well as those avoiding gluten or animal products.
  • The product is third party tested for purity and label accuracy.

Cons

  • The capsules contain carrageenan and cellulose, which some prefer to limit.
Nutricost Selenium 200mcg
Nutricost Selenium 200mcg
Nutricost Selenium 200mcg

A yeast-free, easily absorbed supplement that's third party tested and well absorbed.

Best Liquid

Go Nutrients Selenium

This no-frills supplement is reasonably priced and delivers almost 60 percent of the recommended daily intake in each drop, making it easy to adjust your intake based on how much of it you feel you need. Add that to the fact that unlike a lot of other liquid supplements it’s third party tested and it uses selenomethionine, and you’ve got a quality liquid selenium product.

Pros

  • The product delivers almost 60 percent of the daily intake of selenium per drop. (One “serving” is six drops.)
  • The product has been independently certified by a third party, NSF, for potency.
  • The facility in which it’s made is in the United States and certified Good Manufacturing Practices

Cons

  • Not everyone enjoys the taste of liquid selenium.
  • Customers should verify that the product isn’t milky or cloudy, which indicates a defective product.
Go Nutrients Selenium
Go Nutrients Selenium
Go Nutrients Selenium

A no-frills selenium supplement that's well priced and third party tested for purity.

Best Amino Acid Chelate

Bronson’s Selenium 200mcg

Some prefer to take an amino acid chelated form of selenium. There’s not a ton of evidence it’s absorbed more effectively than other forms, but if you’re convinced that it is, Bronson offers a solid option that’s lab tested for purity, made in a GMP-certified facility, and even delivered in vegan capsules.

Pros

  • The product is totally free from GMOs, gluten, and soy.
  • The capsules are vegetarian friendly.

Cons

  • The capsules contain silicon dioxide and cellulose, which some prefer to limit.
Bronson’s Selenium 200mcg
Bronson’s Selenium 200mcg
Bronson’s Selenium 200mcg

A chelated form of selenium that's lab tested for purity and free from yeast.

Best Selenium Complex

Life Extension Super Selenium Complex

Not sure which form of selenium to take? Life Extension combines several forms of the mineral, including a yeast-free form of selenomethionine along with a dose of Vitamin E to up the antioxidant strength of the product. The supplements are also made in an NSF-certified facility, which means it’s inspected by a third party to verify manufacturing practices.

Pros

  • The product delivers a day’s worth of Vitamin E to enhance the antioxidant strength and act as a natural preservative.
  • The capsules are vegetarian friendly.
  • The supplement is made in a NSF-certified facility in the United States.

Cons

  • The capsules contain silica and cellulose, which some prefer to limit.
Life Extension Super Selenium Complex
Life Extension Super Selenium Complex
Life Extension Super Selenium Complex

A yeast-free selenium supplement that contains extra Vitamin E.

What Are the Benefits of Selenium?

It’s an Antioxidant

This is the most widely accepted benefit of selenium.(1)(2)(3) Antioxidants neutralize free radicals, which contribute to a huge variety of ailments and many areas of the aging process.

May Improve Immunity

Some research, like a 2015 study published in Advances in Nutrition, found selenium to strengthen the immune system.(4)

Maintaining Testosterone Production

Selenium is sometimes considered important for optimal levels of testosterone, and some research has suggested that the mineral may improve testosterone levels and/or enhance sperm motility.(5)(6)(7)(8) That said, some research has found supplements to either not affect testosterone levels or even to decrease sperm motility.(9)(10) These studies used high doses, about six times the recommended daily intake. Still, more research is needed in this area.

Acne

A small study of 14 patients found that taking 200 micrograms of selenium per day over eight weeks significantly reduced total lesion counts in those with acne vulgaris.(11) The difference is notable but not statistically significant.

BarBend Tips

  • Taking too much selenium, as in over 1,500 micrograms a day (that’s over 27 time the recommended amount) is associated with harm, and 3,000 micrograms can cause direct DNA damage.(12)(13)(14).
  • That said, doses of up to 800 micrograms don’t appear to cause harm.(15)
  • Just one handful of Brazil nuts delivers almost 10 times the RDI for selenium. Note that selenium content does depend on the quality of the soil it’s grown in, so it can be hard to know for certain how much is in a serving.

Wrapping Up

While some of these supplements do exceed the recommended intake for selenium, they don’t approach harmful levels and they can be taken in a well balanced diet. As always, though, make sure you speak to your doctor before making any changes to your nutrition or supplement regimen.

References

1. Schnabel R, et al. Selenium supplementation improves antioxidant capacity in vitro and in vivo in patients with coronary artery disease The SElenium Therapy in Coronary Artery disease Patients (SETCAP) Study. Am Heart J. 2008 Dec;156(6):1201.e1-11.
2. Puspitasari IM, et al. Updates on clinical studies of selenium supplementation in radiotherapy. Radiat Oncol. 2014 May 29;9:125.
3. Cai X, et al. Selenium Exposure and Cancer Risk: an Updated Meta-analysis and Meta-regression. Sci Rep. 2016 Jan 20;6:19213.
4. Steinbrenner H, et al. Dietary selenium in adjuvant therapy of viral and bacterial infections. Adv Nutr. 2015 Jan 15;6(1):73-82.
5. Domosławska A, et al. Improvement of Sperm Motility Within One Month Under Selenium and Vitamin E Supplementation in Four Infertile Dogs with Low Selenium Status. J Vet Res. 2019 Jun 12;63(2):293-297.
6. Vézina D, et al. Selenium-vitamin E supplementation in infertile men. Effects on semen parameters and micronutrient levels and distribution. Biol Trace Elem Res. 1996 Summer;53(1-3):65-83.
7. Scott R, et al. The effect of oral selenium supplementation on human sperm motility. Br J Urol. 1998 Jul;82(1):76-80.
8. Safarinejad MR, et al. Efficacy of selenium and/or N-acetyl-cysteine for improving semen parameters in infertile men: a double-blind, placebo controlled, randomized study. J Urol. 2009 Feb;181(2):741-51.
9. Hawkes WC, et al. Effects of dietary selenium on sperm motility in healthy men. J Androl. 2001 Sep-Oct;22(5):764-72.
10. Hawkes WC, et al. Selenium supplementation does not affect testicular selenium status or semen quality in North American men. J Androl. 2009 Sep-Oct;30(5):525-33.
11. Sahib, A et al. Effects of Oral Antioxidants on Lesion Counts Associated with Oxidative Stress and Inflammation in Patients with Papulopustular Acne. J Clin Exp Dermatol Res 2012, 3:5
12. Reid ME, et al. A report of high-dose selenium supplementation: response and toxicities. J Trace Elem Med Biol. 2004;18(1):69-74.
13. Brozmanová J, et al. Selenium: a double-edged sword for defense and offence in cancer. Arch Toxicol. 2010 Dec;84(12):919-38.
14. Whanger PD. Selenium and its relationship to cancer: an update. Br J Nutr. 2004 Jan;91(1):11-28.
15. Schrauzer GN. Nutritional selenium supplements: product types, quality, and safety. J Am Coll Nutr. 2001 Feb;20(1):1-4.