Boots Selenium with Vitamins A, C and EIngredients
  • Sodium selenite
  • Retinyl palmitate
  • DL-alpha tocopheryl acetate
  • Soya bean oil
  • Ascorbic acid
  • Glycerol
  • Soya lecithin
  • Gelatin
  • Beeswax
  • Silicon dioxide
  • Iron oxide

Published February 2010

This is a health food supplement which contains a key antioxidant element (selenium) and vitamins that help protect against the effects of free radicals.


Sodium selenite provides selenium which is chemical element no.34 and is essential for the human body as a vital part of certain enzymes, including those of the thyroid gland. It is especially important for men because sperm needs a lot. The UK diet was once rich in selenium because our bread was baked from selenium-rich wheat from the US and Canada. Today we rely mainly on European wheat which has very little selenium, hence the need for this product. Each capsule contains 50 micrograms of selenium, slightly more than half our daily requirement. Sodium selenite has the formula Na2SeO3 and is water soluble and so easily absorbed by the body.

Selenium has the ability to conduct electricity when illuminated and was used in photocopiers. It is now mainly used in glass manufacture. At low concentrations it decolourises glass, while in higher concentrations it produces bronze coloured glass. Selenium as selenium sulfide is the active agent in some anti-dandruff shampoos and acts by blocking the fungus which causes it. Cerium selenide is a bright red/orange pigment used by artists and for colouring plastics, replacing cadmium selenide which is an environmental toxin. Selenium is toxic but it protects the body against other toxic metals like mercury which is why tuna is safe to eat. Although this fish contains mercury it also contains selenium. However, too much selenium produces foul breath and body odour.

Retinyl palmitate is a form of vitamin A, the antioxidant which can mop up dangerous free radicals, although whether doing this protects the body has recently been questioned. The palmitate comes from palmitic acid, the major component for palm oil.

DL-alpha tocopheryl acetate is vitamin E and is also an antioxidant but in this respect its health benefits have also been questioned.

Soya bean oil is required because vitamins A and E are oil-soluble. Soya bean oil is rich in polyunsaturated linoleic acid and monounsaturated oleic fatty acids.

Ascorbic acid (E300) is vitamin C, which is water soluble, and the lack of which causes scurvy. Excess vitamin C was once thought, wrongly, to prevent cancer.

Glycerol (E422) is there to solubilise the selenium sulfite and vitamin C.

Soya lecithin (E322) is an emulsifier able to make the mixture of oil and other ingredients blend together.

Beeswax (E901) consists of a saturated long-chain fatty acid (palmitic) bonded to a saturated fatty alcohol (oleic). Beeswax is the glazing agent which gives the capsules a shiny look. Beeswax is also used to make candles, furniture polish, and shoe polish.

Gelatin (E411) and silicon dioxide (E551) provide the coating for the capsules; the gelatin acting as the gum.

Iron oxide (E172) colours the capsule coating dark brown.