Selenium and Zinc






  • It has an important role in the immune system and in reproduction.
  • It is an important component of some antioxidant enzymes.
  • It helps to prevent damage to cells and tissues.
  • It helps regulate thyroid hormone activity.


  • Deficiency is rare.


  • High selenium intake causes selenosis which is a condition which leads to loss of hair, skin and nails.

Examples of dietary sources include:

  • Brazil nuts, walnuts, fish, meat, eggs, bread.

Reference Nutrient Intakes (approximate values for adults):

  • 0.075 mg a day for men
  • 0.06 mg a day for women







  • Helps the body to process carbohydrate, fat and protein in food.
  • Helps to the formation of many enzymes.
  • It is essential for cell division, thus for growth and tissue repair and for normal reproductive development.
  • Needed for immune system, taste, smell and wound healing.


  • Rare but early features of deficiency include growth retardation.


  • High zinc intake can reduce the amount of copper the body can absorb which leads to anaemia and weakening of the bones.

Examples of food sources include:

  • Most readily absorbed in meat. Other food dietary include:  poultry, shellfish, milk and dairy products, bread, cereal products, nuts, pulses.

Reference Nutrient Intakes (approximate values for adults):

  • 9.5 mg a day for men
  • 7.0 mg a day for women




British Nutrition Foundation., 2016. [online]. Available from:

Harvard Health Publications., 2009. Listing of vitamins. [online]. Available from:

National Health Service. 2016. [online]. Available from:

Department of Health. 1991. Dietary reference values for food energy and nutrients for the United Kingdom. London: The Stationery Office.

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