Dietary Supplement Containing Excess Selenium Leaves Consumers with Debilitating Injuries

(December 27, 2011) Selenium is a mineral, which the body naturally absorbs. It is taken into the body in food and water. People use it for medicine. It has anti-oxidant properties.

 

Selenium is used for diseases of the heart and blood vessels, including stroke and hardening of the arteries. It is also used for preventing various cancers including cancer of the prostate, stomach, lungs and skin. Some people use selenium for under active thyroid, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, macular degeneration, hay fever, infertility, cataracts, gray hair, abnormal pap smears, chronic fatigue syndrome, mood disorders, arsenic poisoning and preventing miscarriage. Selenium is also used for preventing serious complications and death from critical illnesses such as head injury and burns. It is also used for preventing bird flu, treating HIV/AIDS, and reducing side effects from cancer chemotherapy.

 

As is often the case, many people believe that if a little of something is good, a lot is better.  It is not recommended to take higher amounts of selenium not only because of the risk of selenium toxicity, but because of its antagonism to chromium, magnesium, zinc and other nutritional factors. Excessive selenium intake over long periods of time increases the potential risk of triggering shingles, or developing osteoporosis, enlarged prostate, reduced glucose tolerance, cystadenoma usually in the throat, neurological disturbances, or other negative consequences.  Higher doses are possibly unsafe. It can cause nausea, vomiting, nail changes, loss of energy, and irritability. Poisoning from long-term use is similar to arsenic poisoning, with symptoms including hair loss, streaking of fingernails, fatigue, moodiness, nausea, vomiting, garlic breath odor and a metallic taste. Selenium can also cause muscle tenderness, tremor, light-headedness, facial flushing, blood clotting problems, liver and kidney problems, and other side effects.  Long-term consumption of selenium supplements increases chance of getting type 2 Diabetes. It may also increase skin cancer recurrence. There is also some concern that too much selenium in the body might increase the risk of death as well from cancer.  Too much selenium can increase your cholesterol by 10 percent, which can lead to heart disease and eventually death.

 

The latest case of excessive selenium consumption causing the consumer debilitating injuries has won the plaintiff a $2 million award.

 

An elderly consumer, Edgar Gurley, was recently awarded $2 million after a jury found that Total Body Essential Nutrition incorrectly blended the supplements causing him to lose his hair, fingernails and toenails. He experienced bouts of diarrhea, frequent urination, congestive heart failure and kidney failure.

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