After reviewing the literature on Selenium, especially with probiotics, I decided a post exclusively on Selenium is wise.

First, what we do not find on PubMed:

My model of FM and CFS is that it is a dysfunction of the microbiome, here we find more significant findings:

  • ”Epidemiological studies have suggested an inverse association between selenium levels and inflammatory boweldisease (IBD), which includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis that can potentially progress to colon cancer.”[2015]
  • “Selenium deficiency is common in patients with severe gastrointestinal disorders. The deficiency is mainly related to malabsorption, and a low selenium level was almost invariably present in patients” [1998]
  • “This data, particularly from animal experiments, hold promise that adequate dietary Se supply may counteract chronic intestinal inflammation in humans.” [2014]
  • “New Zealand has one of the highest incidence rates of Crohn’s Disease (CD), whilst the serum selenium status of New Zealanders is among the lowest in the world.”[2012]
  • “Selenoprotein-P is a selenium-rich serum protein that carries more than 50% of serum selenium.. the serum selenoprotein-P level is decreased in patients with CD “[2005]
  • ” Supplementation of selenium (100 microg/day) and zinc (10 mg/day) for 2 months significantly improved the trace element status in CD patients.” [2007]

And for probiotics and the microbiome:

  • Selenium (Se) is an important micronutrient for many organisms, which is required for the biosynthesis of selenocysteine, selenouridine and Se-containing cofactor.” [2016]
  • ” The results of RFLP showed that the faecal microbial flora in the selenium-enriched probiotics group changed the most (numerically) as compared to the Probiotic or sodium selenite group” [2015]
  • ” Importantly, the nanoparticles showed strong growth inhibition toward S. aureus at a concentration as low as 1 ppm. . Interestingly, growth of E. coli was unaffected at all concentrations tested.” [2016]
  • “Bacterial cells usually possess low tolerance to selenite stress and also low ability to reduce high concentrations of toxic selenite. Here, high tolerance to selenite and selenium bioaccumulation capability were developed in mutated clones of probiotic and starter bacteria including Enterococcus faecium, Bifidobacterium animalis ssp. lactis, Lactobacillus casei and Lactococcus lactis ssp. lactis by food-level strain development process and clone selection. All mutant clones possessed increased glutathione concentration and glutathione reductase activity.” [2015]
  • Protective effects of Selenium-enriched probiotics on carbon tetrachloride-induced liver fibrosis in rats[2015].


  • “Currently, the recommended amounts for adequate selenium intake of adults range between 25 and 100 μg/d (2)…The Tolerable Upper Intake Level is set at 300–450 μg Se/d (4)” [2015]


  • ” Intriguingly, beneficial effects of selenium have almost exclusively been reported for infections by RNA viruses, whereas information on selenium and DNA viruses remains scarce.” [2015]
  • ” Infection with a noncardiovirulent strain of Coxsackie B virus (CVB3/0) caused heart damage similar to human pathology only in selenium-deficient mice, whereas mice fed a selenium-adequate diet (0.2 ppm Se as selenite) were protected.” [2015] Cocackie virus is a CFS associated virus
  • “Combined pretreatment with selenium and the antibiotic ciprofloxacin for 4 wk was more effective than ciprofloxacin alone to prevent the development of chronic bacterial prostatitis in rats” [2015]
  • ” In dairy cows, selenium deficiency has been associated with increased incidence and severity of intramammary infections by E. coli and Staphylococcus aureus;” [2015]
  • Selenium is used by people in the prevention and/or treatment of different disorders including cardiovascular disease, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, hypothyroidism, stroke, atherosclerosis, cancer susceptibility and treatment, HIV, AIDS, neuronal diseases such as Alzheimer or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, pancreatitis, depression, and diabetes amongst others… A number of clinical trials in recent years have provided convincing evidence of the central role of this element, either alone or in combination with other micronutrients or antioxidants, in the prevention and treatment of multiple diseases.” [2011]

Bottom Line

Selenium supplementation is recommended by me — based on the model — until such time that CFS studies are done and published.  It appears to improve the performance of both antibiotics and probiotics and seem not to impact the bacteria families that are seen low in CFS patients. A maximum daily dosage of 250  μg Se/d should be discussed with your medical professional. There do not appear to be a need to rotate it.

Daily cost (based on Amazon pricing): $0.07/day or $2.10/month