Most vegans don’t know about selenium (Se) being an issue, but it is. Insufficient intake is ~2-4X higher in ovolactos and vegans.

Here’s why: Fish + animals are rich sources because A) they require it to live, so their regulation is ~constant, i.e., reliable, and B) Se, the blasé fucker, just ends up draining with laze from the soil, slipping into the frothy beckoning seas where it’s taken up sensually by various lifeforms, accumulating along the food chain, ultimately with significance in fish*. Farmed animals get supplemented to avoid deficiencies, spur growth+fertility, make their dead-bits nicer.

Plants don’t really depend on Se. They live relatively independent from amounts in soil.  Still, among them, we got “non-accumulators”, “Se-accumulators”, and “Se-indicators”; species capable of growing Se-independently or in really seleniferous soils.

Lemme Bob Ross it for you: Brazil nuts, considered rich in Se, vary greatly in their concentrations; from 0.03 micrograms/g to 512 micrograms/g.  So someone can meet their entire daily requirement for Se by eating a fraction of one single nut (0.1 g) or, they could eat 30 of em and not gain a pube’s-worth.

Dietary Se depends** on where it came from+what type of soil it danced with

Ex: wheat from different spots: Scandinavian; a few ng/g
Canadian; almost 1 mcg/g (1 microgram = 1000 nanograms)

Meat: selenocysteine (SeCys)
Plant: selenomethionine (SeMet)
Both end up in the same pool, they just take different cars.

Deficiency alone=no disease; just alters everything >> vague/terrible shit (heightened sensitivity to stress+getting long-lasting infections). “CYP450” = drug-metabolizing system we NEED. If Se stores are shit, some CYP actions increase, others decrease – fuckabouts of function having broad-spanning, possibly miserable effects

TEST: selenoprotein P

If low, be safe***, try a well-defined supplement (specified amount of Se; either SeMet, selenite, or Se-rich yeast preparations.~50 mcg ✔)

By Seren Wechsler - MS, RD, CDN

I have graduate and undergraduate degrees in Nutrition and completed my dietetic internship at Hunter College at the City University of New York School of Public Health. I've written for major health and news websites and have published in two textbooks, the contents of which center on fruit and vegetable consumption. I'm employed as a clinician with Pinnacle Dietary. I moonlight as a private counselor and writer. I specialize in vegan nutrition and voluntary smiling.

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