Women who are nursing typically consume enough selenium. Breastfeeding women, however, need more selenium each day, compared to most adults. The Recommended Dietary Allowance of selenium for breastfeeding women is 70 mcg per day, compared to 60 mcg for pregnant women and 55 mcg for non-pregnant adults. However, breastfeeding women should not take too much selenium, as it may cause dangerous complications (even death).
Selenium and Breastfeeding: An Overview
Women who are breastfeeding have a slightly higher need for selenium, compared to most adults. In fact, breastfeeding women need more selenium than pregnant women. However, breastfeeding women in the United States usually don't have any trouble getting enough selenium through their diet, and there is probably no need to take any additional selenium. Actually, too much can be quite dangerous.
Do I Need to Take Selenium While Breastfeeding?
The RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) of selenium for breastfeeding women is 70 mcg per day, compared to 60 mcg for pregnant women and 55 mcg per day for non-pregnant adults. Because selenium is found in many different commonly consumed foods, most people don't have any trouble getting enough, at least in the United States. People in other parts of the world, however, may be more likely to have selenium deficiencies, due to low soil levels and, therefore, low food levels of selenium.
Keep in mind that selenium can cause serious side effects. For adults (including breastfeeding women), toxicity can occur at doses higher than 400 mcg of selenium per day. There have even been reports of death due to selenium toxicity.
If you are breastfeeding, it is always a good idea to have a discussion with your healthcare provider before taking any medication or supplement, including selenium.
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: KristiMonson, PharmD;
List of references (click here):
Jellin JM, editor. Pharmacist's Letter/Prescriber's Letter Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Web site. Available at: http://naturaldatabase.com/. Accessed January 30, 2008.
National Institutes of Health. Office of Dietary Supplements. Dietary supplement fact sheet: Selenium (8/1/2004). NIH Web site. Available at: http://dietary-supplements.info.nih.gov/factsheets/selenium.asp. Accessed January 30, 2008.
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