Selenium dioxide is the chemical compound with the formula SeO2. This colorless solid is one of the most frequently encountered compounds of selenium.



  • As a colorant

    Selenium dioxide imparts a red colour to glass. It is used in small quantities to counteract the blue colour due to cobalt impurities and so to create (apparently) colourless glass. In larger quantities, it gives a deep ruby red colour.

    Selenium dioxide is the active ingredient in some cold-blueing solutions.

    It was also used as a toner in photographic developing.


  • Antioxidant

    Selenium is a component of glutathione peroxidase, which possesses antioxidantactivity, and demonstrates antioxidant properties in humans. Long-term clinical benefits remain controversial.

  • Prostate Cancer Prevention 

    Initial evidence has suggested that selenium supplementation reduces the risk of developing prostate cancer in men with normal baseline PSA (prostate specific antigen) levels, and low selenium blood levels.

  • Keshan Disease 

    Keshan disease is a cardiomyopathy (heart disease) restricted to areas of China in people having an extremely low selenium status. Prophylactic administration of sodium selenite has been shown to significantly decrease the incidence of this disorder. For supplementation, selenium as selenomethionine has been reported to have nearly twice the bioavailability of selenium as selenite. Selenium is used to treat and prevent selenium deficiency (for example in those with HIV or receiving enteral feedings).

  • Asthma 

    Preliminary research reports that selenium supplementation may help improve asthma symptoms. Further research is needed to confirm these results.

  • Intracranial Pressure Symptoms 

    Preliminary research shows a decrease of symptoms of elevated intracranial pressure (headaches, nausea, emesis, vertigo, unsteady gait, speech disorders, and Jacksonian seizures). More research is needed before a recommendation can be made.

  • Burns 

    Early study results suggest that supplementation with selenium and other trace elements (copper, zinc) may increase the rate of burn wound healing. Additional research is necessary before a clear recommendation can be made.

  • Cancer Treatment

    Several studies suggest that low levels of selenium (measured in the blood or in tissues such as toenail clippings), may be a risk factor for developing cancer, particularly prostate cancer. Population studies suggest that people with cancer are more likely to have low selenium levels than healthy matched individuals, but in most cases it is not clear if the low selenium levels are a cause or merely a consequence of disease. It remains unclear if selenium is beneficial in the treatment of any type of cancer.

  • Cardiomyopathy 

    Low selenium levels have been associated with the development of cardiomyopathy, and selenium supplementation is likely of benefit in such cases (for example in Keshan disease). However, most cases of cardiomyopathy are not due to low selenium levels, and therefore selenium may not be helpful.It has been suggested that low selenium levels may be a risk for coronary heart disease, although this remains unclear.

  • Cataracts 

    Preliminary research reports that selenium supplementation may affect the development of cataracts. Further research is needed before a clear conclusion can be drawn.

  • Chemotherapy Side Effects 

    Study results of selenium supplementation during chemotherapy are mixed. General concern has been raised that antioxidants may interfere with radiation therapy or some chemotherapy agents (such as alkylating agents, anthracyclines, or platinums), which themselves can depend on oxidative damage to tumor cells for anti-cancer activity. Therefore, patients undergoing cancer treatment should speak with their oncologist before taking selenium.

  • Cystic Fibrosis 

    Preliminary research of selenium supplementation in CF patients yields indeterminate results. Further research is needed in this area before a conclusion can be drawn.

  • Dandruff 

    Studies report that selenium-containing shampoos may help improve dandruff, and selenium is included in some commercially available products.

  • Dialysis

    The benefits of selenium supplementation in dialysis patients remain unclear. Some methods of dialysis may lower plasma selenium levels.

  • Fatigue 

    Evidence of benefit is inconclusive in this area.

  • Malabsorption

    Low selenium status has been demonstrated in several malabsorptive syndromes and in some digestive and gastrointestinal allergic conditions. There is some evidence that children with food allergies have a higher risk of selenium deficiency. There is no clear benefit of selenium supplementation as a therapy for malabsorptive syndromes, although vitamin supplementation in general may be warranted.


  • Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Selenium use is POSSIBLY SAFE during pregnancy and breast-feeding when used short-term in amounts that are not above 400 mcg daily. Selenium is POSSIBLY UNSAFE in pregnancy and breastfeeding when taking by mouth in doses above 400 mcg daily, as this might cause toxicity.
  • Autoimmune diseases: Selenium might stimulate the immune system. In theory, selenium might make autoimmune disease worse by stimulating the activity of the disease. People with autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and other should avoid taking selenium supplements.
  • Hemodialysis: Blood levels of selenium can be low in people undergoing hemodialysis. Using a dialysis solution with selenium might increase selenium levels, but selenium supplementation might be needed for some people.
  • Fertility problems in men: Selenium might decrease the ability of sperm to move, which could reduce fertility. If you are trying to father a child, don’t take selenium supplements.
  • Skin cancer: Long-term use of selenium supplements might slightly increase the risk of skin cancer recurrence, but this is controversial. Until more is known about the possible increase in skin cancer risk, avoid long-term use of selenium supplements if you have ever had skin cancer.
  • Under-active thyroid (hypothyroidism): Taking selenium can worsen hypothyroidism especially in people with iodine deficiency. In this case, you should take iodine along with selenium. Check with your healthcare provider.
  • Surgery: Selenium might increase the risk of bleeding during and after surgery. Stop taking selenium at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.


    • Medications that slow blood clotting (Anticoagulant / Antiplatelet drugs) interacts with SELENIUM
      Selenium might slow blood clotting. Taking selenium along with medications that also slow clotting might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding.

      Some medications that slow blood clotting include aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), dalteparin (Fragmin), enoxaparin (Lovenox), heparin, ticlopidine (Ticlid), warfarin (Coumadin), and others.

    • Medications used for lowering cholesterol (Statins) interacts with SELENIUM
      Taking selenium, beta-carotene, vitamin C, and vitamin E together might decrease the effectiveness of some medications used for lowering cholesterol. It is not known if selenium alone decreases the effectiveness of some medications used for lowering cholesterol.

      Some medications used for lowering cholesterol include atorvastatin (Lipitor), fluvastatin (Lescol), lovastatin (Mevacor), and pravastatin (Pravachol).

    • Niacin interacts with SELENIUM
      Taking selenium along with vitamin E, vitamin C, and beta-carotene might decrease some of the beneficial effects of niacin. Niacin can increase the good cholesterol. Taking selenium along with these other vitamins might decrease the how well niacin works for increasing good cholesterol.
    • Sedative medications (Barbiturates) interacts with SELENIUM
      The body breaks down medications to get rid f them. Selenium might slow how fast the body breaks down sedative medications (Barbiturates). Taking selenium with these medications might increase the effects and side effects of these medications.
    • Warfarin (Coumadin) interacts with SELENIUM
      Selenium might thin the blood. Selenium might also increase the effects of warfarin in the body. Taking selenium along with warfarin might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding.

Other names

Atomic number 34, Dioxyde de sélénium, Ebselen, L-Selenomethionine, L-Sélénométhionine, Levure sélénisée, Numéro atomique 34, Se, Selenio, Selenite, Sélénite de sodium, Sélénium, Selenium Ascorbate, Selenium Dioxide, Selenized Yeast, Selenomethionine, Sélénométhionine, Sodium Selenite


Source:  Wikipedia,
















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