Selenium: biological information

Biological role of selenium: selenium is essential to mammals and higher plants, but only in small amounts. Selenium is said to stimulate the metabolism. It may help protest against free radical oxidants and against some heavy metals. Livestock grown in areas containing high amounts of selenium in the soil and in which a plant called Astragalus ("loco weed" in USA) is present are poisoned. This is because Astragalus concentrates selenium. On the other hand, sheep grown in areas containing deficient amounts of selenium in the soil develop "white muscle disease".

Levels in humans

Table: the abundances of the elements in humans.
Human abundance by weight 50 ppb by weight
Human abundance by atoms 4 atoms relative to C = 1000000

How much selenium is in your body? Find out here.

You can use this form to calculate how much selenium your body contains. Enter your weight in either kilograms or pounds and click the "Calculate" button. You must enter a number, not text! Elements for which there are no data will always give a value of zero for the weight, no matter what you put in the weight box.

Calculate how much selenium is in your body
Enter your weight here: You contain about : grams of selenium

Hazards and Risks

Hazards and risks associated with selenium: selenium compounds are very toxic. They are carcinogenic and teratogenic. Livestock grown in areas containing high amounts of selenium in the soil and in which a plant called Astragalus ("loco weed" in USA) is present are poisoned. This is because Astragalus concentrates selenium. Sheep grown in areas containing deficient amounts of selenium in the soil develop "white muscle disease".

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selenium atomic number