Q. My wife is always telling me not to eat so many Brazil nuts. The last 10 days I have eaten more than usual, up to six a day. I probably ate at least 40 nuts. I estimate that batch contained up to 6 mg of selenium, which is way too much.
I have noticed a metallic taste in my mouth. That’s a known symptom of selenium toxicity, so I am going to stop for a while and not OD in the future!
A. Your wife is right about not pigging out on Brazil nuts. Brazil nuts are high in selenium and an ounce (roughly half a dozen) provides 800 micrograms. That’s about double the US recommended tolerable upper limit. Overindulging regularly could lead to selenium toxicity. Symptoms may include a metallic taste, garlic odor on the breath, hair loss, brittle nails, fatigue, nausea, rash, diarrhea, runny nose, cough and nerve pain. Selenium-containing supplements are another potential source of this mineral.