How Selenium Helps to Detox Mercury

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How Selenium Helps to Detoxify Mercury:

Selenium has emerged as one of the key compounds to help the body detoxify environmental chemicals.  Today’s society is loaded with powerful toxins of all shapes and sizes. One of the most harmful & potentially lethal of these biological toxins is mercury. Mercury has a strong affinity for fatty tissue and loves to clog up the brain, liver, & kidneys. Science has now revealed that selenium is a powerful mercury detoxifying agents.

Many people have very high levels of mercury in their body. Mercury attaches and competes for cellular binding sites with other major trace minerals. When we are trace mineral deficient mercury is able to infiltrate and contaminate cells by shutting down their energy producing and antioxidant enzyme systems (1, 2).

Major Sources of Mercury:

The major sources of mercury come from dental amalgam fillings, processed foods, vaccines, fish, & industrial pollution. According to a large study published in the Journal of Environmental Health in 2009, mercury cell chloralkali chemicals are used to manufacture color additives such as FD&C Yellow 5, FD&C Yellow 6 and high fructose corn syrup (3).

Selenium is a trace mineral that incorporates itself into proteins to produce selenoprotein enzymes. These enzymes act as an antioxidant in the body to destroy free radicals and boost both the immune system and thyroid function (4).  Mercury binds with selenium and reduces selenoprotein production. This deficiency hampers immune & thyroid function (5).

Selenium Binds Toxic Substances:

Selenium acts as a mercury magnet with a very strong binding affinity for the toxic substance. This strong attraction allows selenium to mix and neutralize their reaction characteristics. This new Hg – Se substance that is produced is not absorbed by the body and gets flushed out of the system.

This is a very beneficial interaction that removes mercury from the body before it can lodge in fatty tissue and cause damage (6, 7).

It is critical that we maintain a surplus of selenium in our body to effectively neutralize mercury & produce the antioxidant enzymes that benefit us so much. We must consume less mercury and more selenium in order for this to happen. If we have increased mercury consumption (dental amalgams, vaccines, processed food consumption) than we will need increased selenium consumption up to 1000 mcg/daily.

Other Major Roles of Selenium:

Selenium increases the antioxidant capabilities throughout the entire body and improves blood flow, lowers inflammation and modulates immune function.  It is one of the most important considerations in someone who is dealing with chronic inflammation and/or an auto-immune condition (8, 9).

Selenium is compared to a mechanic in that it attaches protective antioxidants such as glutathione on damaged areas of DNA.  This process helps to reduce and repair damaged cell DNA.  This is especially important for reducing cancer growth and improving the aging process (10, 11, 12).

Selenium is also very important for healthy fertility.   This compound is incorporated in the sperm mitochondrial capsule and may affect the behavior and function of the sperm as they move through the vaginal canal.  Optimal levels of selenium help to improve the sperm viability and reduce the risk of infertility (131415).


Appropriate Selenium Consumption:

We should normally consume between 200-400 micrograms of selenium daily. Too much selenium is toxic; however, the average American consumes just 60 mcg daily (16, 17). This creates a long-term deficiency that leads to lowered immunity and increased risk of disease.

The most common disorders associated with selenium deficiencies include cancer, fatigue, stunted growth, high cholesterol, liver & pancreatic disorders.

Fish Consumption and Selenium:

Fish consumption has been a source of controversy due to the elevating mercury levels from industrial pollution. However, fish is also a great source of selenium. The key is to use fish sources that are minimally processed and contain significantly more selenium than mercury.

Dr. Nicholas Ralston report to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows that (southern) flounder, tuna, and wild pacific salmon (including Chinook, Sockeye and Coho) have much more selenium than mercury. Meanwhile, pilot whale, tarpon and various types of shark were shown to be the most hazardous (18).

Best Food Sources of Selenium:

Brazil Nuts are by far the best source of selenium.  Each brazil nut is said to contain between 50-75 mcg of selenium.  Taking a small handful, about 4-6 will supply most of the selenium you will need in the course of a day.

Other good sources include organ meats, many forms of fish, pasture-raised eggs, mushrooms, shellfish, meat and seeds.  Brazil nuts are by far and away the most rich food and that is why I recommend my clients take a small handful each day if possible.

Supplemental Forms of Selenium:

The most bioavailable form of selenium is in an amino acid form called selenomethionine, which is found naturally in yeast (19, 20) and in plants as they uptake sulfur compounds and link those to selenium.  Many other forms of selenium only have half the absorption levels of L-selenomethionine.

All amino acids occur in two different three-dimensional forms: an “L” form and a “D” form, which are essentially mirror images of each other. The human body can only metabolize the L-amino acid form.  So the ideal form to look for is L-selenomethionine.

One study showed that supplementation with 200 mcg of L-selenomethionine significantly reduced thyroid peroxidase anti-bodies and improved overall thyroid function in individuals suffering with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (21, 22)

L-selenomethionine supplementation has also been shown to reduce mercury and cadmium content in the body (23, 24) and help to prevent various forms of cancer formation (25, 26, 27)


Introducing Thyro-Liver Protect:

Thyro-Liver Protect™ contains the amino acid N-acetyl-L-cysteine, a key component of glutathione—a tripeptide that plays a significant role in detoxification and antioxidant support.  This is key for anyone with high levels of mercury, lead, thalium or cadmium.

Thyro-Liver Protect also contains a combination of alpha-lipoic acid, silymarin from milk thistle, and selenium for support of antioxidant activity, regeneration of other antioxidants, and promotion of healthy immune function.

I use 2-4 caps (1-2 caps – 2x daily) of Thyro-Liver daily with my clients to help improve liver detoxification, thyroid hormone levels, mercury detoxification and cancer prevention.


10 Tips to Reduce Mercury Naturally:

1. Eat Real Foods:  Minimize processed food consumption & eat real foods by following an anti-inflammatory nutrition plan here

2. Avoid Vaccines:  Avoid vaccines & choose natural means to boost immunity.

3. Say No to Dental Amalgams:  Do not get dental amalgams put in and look to remove existing ones by finding a IAOMT mercury-free dentist.

4. Consume Brazil Nuts:  Brazil nuts are the greatest source of selenium. A handful (depending on soil quality) contains anywhere from 200 – 550 mcg. Eat 5-6 brazil nuts daily.

5. Choose Fish Wisely:  Only eat wild-caught (never farmed) fish with very high selenium:mercury ratios.

6. Use Cilantro, Parsley and Dandelion:  Use cilantro (a heavy metal chelating agent) in your fish and other foods.  Parsley and dandelion are also very supportive of the liver and kidneys and help the body to flush out wastes such as mercury.

7. SuperGreens & Chlorella:  Use a high quality Supergreens powder with cracked-wall chlorella which is a powerful heavy metal chelating agent.

8.  Use an InfraRed Sauna:  One of the best ways to remove mercury and other heavy metals is through perspiring in an infrared sauna which has the ability to help move heavy metals from tissue cells into circulation and out through the sweat glands.  Read more about infrared sauna usage here

9.  Drink Hydrating Fluids:  Be sure to drink at least half your body weight in ounces of clean, filtered water daily.  Adding lemon/lime, various essential oils or apple cider vinegar to your water enhances the detoxifying effects.

10.  Use a Detoxification Supplement Program: Following a specific supplement program on a periodic basis can help sweep out the toxins in your system. This is not a harsh colon cleanse that leaves you on the toilet all day, but instead it promotes a gentle and comfortable detoxification process that will not interfere with your daily life.

Within days most people notice they have improved energy, less pain, mental clarity, improved complexion and they sleep deeper. I have seen fantastic health results both personally and professionally using this system.

If you have high levels of mercury or other heavy metals, impaired liver function, an autoimmune disorder or cancer I would strongly recommend using this full detoxification support pack here

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Sources For This Article Include:

1. The Impact of Mercury on Human Health and the Environment Link Here
2. The toxicology of mercury–current exposures and clinical manifestations. N Engl J Med. 2003 Oct 30;349(18):1731-7. PMID: 14585942
3. Mercury from chlor-alkali plants: measured concentrations in food product sugar Link Here
4. Schomburg L. Selenium, selenoproteins and the thyroid gland: interactions in health and disease. Nat Rev Endocrinol. 2011 Oct 18;8(3):160-71. PMID: 22009156
5. Soldin OP, O’Mara DM, Aschner M. Thyroid Hormones and Methylmercury Toxicity. Biological trace element research. 2008;126(0):1-12.
6. Sugiura Y, Tamai Y, Tanaka H. Selenium_protection against mercury toxicity: high binding affinity of methylmercury by selenium-containing ligands in comparison with sulfur-containing ligands. Bioinorg Chem. 1978 Aug;9(2):167-80. PMID: 698281
7. Skerfving S. Interaction between selenium_and methylmercury. Environ Health Perspect. 1978 Aug;25:57-65. PMID: 363410
8. Tinggi U. Selenium: its role as antioxidant in human health. Environmental Health and Preventive Medicine. 2008;13(2):102-108.
9. Papp LV, Holmgren A, Khanna KK. Selenium and selenoproteins in health and disease. Antioxid Redox Signal. 2010 Apr 1;12(7):793-5. PMID: 19905883
10. Arbogast S, Ferreiro A. Selenoproteins and protection against oxidative stress: selenoprotein N as a novel player at the crossroads of redox signaling and calcium homeostasis. Antioxid Redox Signal. 2010 Apr 1;12(7):893-904. PMID: 19769461
11. The role of selenium in thyroid autoimmunity and cancer. Duntas LH. Thyroid. 2006 May;16(5):455-60. PMID: 16756467
12. Duntas LH. Selenium and inflammation: underlying anti-inflammatory mechanisms. Horm Metab Res. 2009 Jun;41(6):443-7. PMID: 19418416
13. Foresta C, Flohé L, Garolla A, Roveri A, Ursini F, Maiorino M. Male fertility is linked to the selenoprotein phospholipid hydroperoxide glutathione peroxidase. Biol Reprod. 2002 Sep;67(3):967-71. PMID: 12193409
14. Boitani C, Puglisi R. Selenium, a key element in spermatogenesis and male fertility. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2008;636:65-73. PMID: 19856162
15. Hansen JC, Deguchi Y. Selenium and fertility in animals and man–a review. Acta Vet Scand. 1996;37(1):19-30. PMID: 8659343
16. FHIS – Selenium nutrition and its impact on health Link Here
17. NIH – Selenium
18. Selenium and Mercury Link Here
19. Digestibility and bioavailability of dietary selenium from fishmeal, selenite, selenomethionine and selenocystine in Atlantic salmon Link Here
20. L-selenomethionine as a source of selenium added for nutritional purposes to food supplements Link Here
21. Mazokopakis EE, Papadakis JA, Papadomanolaki MG, Batistakis AG, Giannakopoulos TG, Protopapadakis EE, Ganotakis ES. Effects of 12 months treatment with L-selenomethionine on serum anti-TPO Levels in Patients with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Thyroid. 2007 Jul;17(7):609-12. PMID: 17696828
22. Duntas LH, Mantzou E, Koutras DA. Effects of a six month treatment with selenomethionine in patients with autoimmune thyroiditis. Eur J Endocrinol. 2003 Apr;148(4):389-93. PMID: 12656658
23. Frisk P, Yaqob A, Lindh U. Indications of selenium_protection against cadmium toxicity in cultured K-562 cells. Sci Total Environ. 2002 Sep 16;296(1-3):189-97. PMID: 12398336
24. Selenomethionine Protects against Neuronal Degeneration by Methylmercury in the Developing Rat Cerebrum Link Here
25. Nelson MA, Goulet AC, Jacobs ET, Lance P. Studies into the anticancer effects of selenomethionine against human colon cancer. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2005 Nov;1059:26-32. PMID: 16382040
26. Zhao R, Domann FE, Zhong W. Apoptosis induced by selenomethionine and methioninase is superoxide mediated and p53 dependent in human prostate cancer cells. Mol Cancer Ther. 2006 Dec;5(12):3275-84. PMID: 17172431
27. Yan L, Yee JA, Li D, McGuire MH, Graef GL. Dietary supplementation of selenomethionine reduces metastasis of melanoma cells in mice. Anticancer Res. 1999 Mar-Apr;19(2A):1337-42. PMID: 10368696


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  1. Hi, in this article is says “This new Hg – Se substance that is produced is not absorbed by the body and gets flushed out of the system.”

    A synthetic/chemical selenium that doesn’t enter the system but gets flushed out and takes the mercury with it is exactly what i’m looking for, all i can find is organic selenium, where can i buy the selenium it talks about there?


          1. Additionally, you want glutathione precursers and sulfur compounds with it to synergize and absorb more metals and buffer oxidative stress. That is why I love the Thyro-Liver protect product. It has N-Acetyl Cysteine, Alpha Lipoic Acid and milk thistle.

  2. Excuse my lack of knowledge, but that product has L-selenomethionine in it, so you’re saying it’s the combination of N-Acetyl Cysteine, Alpha Lipoic Acid and milk thistle that causes it to not get absorbed?

  3. Okay, so then what is it that causes it to not get absorbed in to the body?
    Sorry for being to thourough i’ve tried to detoxify with selenium before, and then found out that you need to take one that get’s flushed out rather than absorbed.

      1. Okay thank you for all your answers!
        another question though, does a detox with only L-selenomethionine work aswell, to get rid of aluminium for example?

  4. Many of the suggestions you recommend for removing mercury are not safe. Look up Andrew Cutler. There are safe was of removing mercury, but you need to do more research. People should not use cilantro or alpha lipoic acid if they have amalgam in their teeth. There are ways of safely remove mercury and protocols on how.

  5. All of the ingredients noted here will benefit a mercury detoxification program. Cilantro and alpha lipoic acid will definitely liberate mercury bound up in the tissues, but with selenomethionine in active circulation, the selenium will bind avidly to the mercury which then can by filtered out by the body’s natural detoxification systems.

    I am very familiar with Andrew Cutler’s work and have purchased his book. His theory is actually fairly sound, but there is more than one way to skin a cat. Keeping a steady state level of alpha lipoic acid in the bloodstream will minimize redistribution of mercury into the central nervous system, but it is quite inconvenient and difficult to perform.

    I agree that mobilizing the mercury with either Cilantro or ALA (alpha lipoic acid) can lead to redistribution into the CNS with high dose intermittent therapy when used as single agents. However, if selenomethione is present at sufficient serum concentrations, the liberated mercury will bond to it before redistribution into the brain. Cilantro or ALA will also liberate the mercury and deliver it to the liver, potentially leading to hepatoxicity. This agent includes silymarin from milk thistle which helps to minimize mercury induced hepatoxicity.

    I am concerned when people will blindly follow a single person’s advice as if it is the only valid course of action. Andrew Cutler’s protocol will work and as I have said, is theoretically sound. However, the man holds to his own views with inappropriate dogmatism. He vilifies the use of Chlorella which is a fantastic detoxifier of heavy metals. The agent also provides a dense source of amino acids and minerals which would be of great benefit to anyone suffering from mercury toxicity.

    My wife suffers from mercury toxicity. I researched all I could about heavy metal toxicity and treatment alternatives. My wife is on a combination of cilantro, chlorella, selenomethionine, N-acetylcysteine, glutamine, S-adenosylmethionine, vitamin D, folic acid, milk thistle, dandelion and a probiotic known as lactobacillus fermentum me-3. All timed in such a way as to optimize the liberation and binding of mercury.

    I did not have the luxury of having my wife’s amalgam removed prior to starting chelation. With the use of a combination of Chlorella growth factor, chlorella extract and cilantro extract, her condition improved sufficiently to allow her to get into a dental chair for amalgam extraction.

    She is living proof that cilantro can be used safely in a mercury detoxification protocol even with a retained amalgam.

    The suggestions made here are valid and the combination of agents should do a decent job in mercury removal for most, especially those that are still functional. While I do not need this product as I already have everything already, the suggestions are reasonable. Cutler doesn’t mention the use of selenomethionine or even iodine as valid agents in mercury detoxification. He vilifies the use of Chlorella and doesn’t seem to have firm grasp on the biochemical processes involved in mercury detoxification and elimination. He understands the concept of steady state and stoichiometry, using the concepts in developing his protocol. It is a sound protocol, but there are others that are just as logical and will result in even quicker and better outcomes.

    I know that he (Cutler) is a chemist, but that means squat to me. I don’t know if his expertise is in analytical chemistry, organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry, physical chemistry or biological chemistry. As a biological chemist myself, I can definitely say that his recommendation regarding detoxification with ALA isn’t the only valid one. Nor is it even the ideal one.

    1. Hi Jeff, I’m pleased to find your information and explanations, I am going through this now, well have been for over 3 years but no medical “professional” diagnosed correctly, so there treatment was merely covering up which exacerbated the condition.
      Could I please trouble you for any further information guidance you can provide. My email is
      Thank you

  6. Me too jeff please, please…I have had my amalgams out for almost a year and would like to take this to the next phase, I have niacin, infrared sauna and nac, etc fire in hole peace be upon you all. Thanks for all your work Dr Jockers.

      1. OMG.. i didn’t actually expected your reply thanks!

        i have some more question but i’m not good at english please excuse.

        1. I live in south korea and i’m suffering from chronic mercury poisoning.
        i can’t find any IAOMT dentist in here

        can i just remove it by normal method ?
        i think it’s better than living with the amalgam.

        2. and i already bought
        seleno excell. not seleno methionine. do i have to change?

        3. after the day i bought seleno excell, i took about 1000 mcg a day according to your recommendation
        (for about 3 days)how long do i have to take this dosage?

        i’m very confused on the journey to detox mercury….

        i’m really appreciate your reply !

        1. So sorry to hear about this! I would recommend seeing if you can travel to a dentist who can take the fillings out correctly. Continue with the selenium but I would only do 200 mcg – 2x daily. I would recommend using these supplements as well to help detox mercury:

          Heavy Metal Detox: 2 caps – 2x daily away from meals

          Mineral Support: 2 caps – 2x daily with meals

        2. Hwang, there is a good dentist in Singapore that affiliates with IAOMT, her name is Dr Gan at TP Dental. Please dont remove it with normal method. My husband has severe mercury poisoning because of that.

  7. I just had a large amount of Amalgam fillings removed from 3 teeth on 2/6/19. My concern is Mercury goes to your brain so I am worried about getting Alzheimer’s because of that. My mother passed away from Alzheimer’s. I have not done any type of test to see how much mercury is in my body. I just ordered GLUTATHIONE FORCE from Bulletproof. It says to take 3 of these a day. Knowing these facts what do you recommend I take?

  8. Please notice: your selenium content in foods is wrong by an order of magnitude.

    For example you list 146 mcg/medium egg; the true value if 14.

  9. I want to know the best way to test for mercury especially in the brain if possible and what can I take that crosses the blood brain barrier to detox…thank you

    1. Hair test for approximate toxicity, alpha lipoic acid (NOT CILANTRO AND LIKE PRODUCTS SUGGESTED ON THIS POST) crosses the blood brain barrier.
      This info is mostly bogus on this blog post. Selenium isn’t a thiol at all and can’t bind mercury to move it. What is does is pacify it as it’s moved by a di-thiol chelator. Stay in your lane doc, you should know using Dr. Google to gather info is not how you educate people. Read up on Dr. Cutler and his research on how to properly remove mercury. You’re hurting people suggesting cilantro, chlorella, etc. They’re unstable chelators.

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