Jilara (jilara) wrote,

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Selenium drinks

A friend was telling me about recently consuming an "energy drink," and getting a horrible headache by the time she was 1/3 of the way through the bottle. On checking the list of ingredients, she noticed selenium as a "featured ingredient" and a light bulb went off in her head. No kidding, I said, that stuff poisons wildlife and is in locoweed (aka Astragalus), which causes nasty poisoning in cattle. Why are they putting it in drinks? Oh, because of something about it being a needed nutrient. Um, but in very trace amounts, which most people get as standard in their diet. It's a *micro*nutrient. If there's enough of it to feature on ingredient lists, it's probably hitting toxicity levels. A classic case of "gee, if a trace amount is good, a lot must be Really Good, right?"

So I checked on the web for toxicity. Hmm, selenium deficiency is extremely rare in healthy people. It occurs mostly in people with severely compromised intestinal function. Exceeding 400 micrograms a day can lead to selenosis, which leads to a host of Really Bad stuff, including neurological disorders, cirrhosis, gastrointestinal upsets, hair loss, fatigue, etc. Yeah, just what I want to be slugging down in an "energy drink." The fatigue factor is especially ironic. And for reference, compare with vitamin A, where the *required daily allowance* is is 900 micrograms a day, over twice what is toxic in selenium. Yep, slug that stuff down...

Much as I hate to grant power to the government over "herbs and supplements," there are some things that really should be thought about... Or maybe we should accept a Darwinian principle, and figure the public should just educate themselves more, and let those that don't be winnowed from the gene pool...

Amusing addenda: The following ad showed up on the page with my query listings.
Selenium Poisoning
Find and compare prices on selenium poisoning at smarter.com!
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