Brazil Nuts for Selenium and Testosterone

Brazil Nuts health benefitsBrazil nuts are an unusually powerful superfood. As the richest known natural source of selenium, they have many health benefits, but also need to be eaten with caution as having too many can have side effects.

Here’s how to use these potent and nutritious nuts for selenium and why they are superior to the kind of selenium found in standard multivitamins.

Also ahead is how many to eat a day and why Brazil nuts can increase your testosterone levels naturally – good news for both men and women.

The Importance of Selenium in Your Diet

Brazil nuts are exceptionally high in selenium, an essential micromineral and antioxidant used by your body to prevent free radical oxidative damage to your cells.

While you only need a small amount of it, without adequate selenium, you can have problems making enough glutathione peroxidase within your cells.

Glutathione peroxidase is a substance critical for cellular detoxification. It converts toxins into harmless byproducts that your body eliminates and provides important protection against many environmental and dietary hazards.

Increasing glutathione peroxidase production is believed to help prevent cancerous cell changes and selenium supplements have been shown in research studies to reduce cancer risk.

Skin complaints like acne and psoriasis, as well as joint problems like rheumatoid arthritis, have often been reported to respond well to extra selenium in the diet.

Selenium is also necessary for a properly functioning thyroid. Since your thyroid controls your body’s metabolism, inadequate levels of selenium may be a factor in sudden weight gain or weight loss.

How Much Selenium is in Brazil Nuts?

Selenium is found in highly unusual amounts in these rainforest nuts. Just one Brazil nut has around 50 mcg of selenium.

The amount can vary though, depending on the soils they are grown in, and can be as high as 90 mcg for each nut.

100 grams of raw Brazil nuts have 2550 mcg selenium on nutritional databases, which is 3643% of the RDA. Even if you could eat that much of such a rich and filling food, you definitely wouldn’t want to.

The recommended daily allowance of selenium is 55 mcg a day and just one Brazil nut, on average, will provide close to that amount. If you already eat other selenium rich foods, like shrimp, salmon and crimini mushrooms, that’s probably all you need.

Many health experts though believe that the selenium RDA is too low and recommend getting at least 100 mcg a day. Two Brazil nuts should provide close to this amount and this is what I have personally most days, primarily for the antioxidant, thyroid and skin benefits of selenium, but also for their potential to increase testosterone production.

Better than Selenium Supplements

This study on selenium absorption showed participants eating just two Brazil nuts a day, versus those taking 100 micrograms of selenomethionine (a popular supplemental version) had far superior absorption and blood levels of selenium. These nuts also contain good levels of vitamin E, which is believed to enhance the beneficial effects of this essential mineral.

So just one or two Brazil nuts, ideally organic like these great tasting ones I get every month or two, is superior to supplemental selenium like selenomethionine (and especially selenium selenite found in some multivitamins, shown to adversely interact with vitamin C).

Brazil nuts also contain B vitamins, choline, calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, zinc, manganese and copper in good levels. With such a rich array of nutrients they could be considered the Amazon rainforest’s antidote to all the mineral depleted foods in our regular diets.

Natural Testosterone Enhancer

Selenium has been shown in research studies to boost testosterone levels in infertile men and many people, particularly in bodybuilding forums, report a greater libido when they eat Brazil nuts regularly.

It’s possible that this is simply the result of rectifying a pre-existing selenium deficiency. However, Brazil nuts are also high in zinc, the amino acid arginine and beneficial fatty acids needed to make important steroidal hormones like testosterone.

Low amounts of zinc in your diet is strongly associated with reduced testosterone. Increasing intake of this mineral has been demonstrated in studies to improve luteinizing hormone levels, a key factor in proper testosterone production.

Arginine is a precursor to nitric oxide, important for vasodilation and known to increasing testicular blood flow for better hormone production. L-arginine is also a popular supplement for boosting workout performance and regular intensive exercise is one of the best ways known to improve to elevate your testosterone levels.

All of these nutrients could play their part in Brazil nuts long-standing reputation as an aphrodisiac for both men and women. While females don’t make or need nearly as much testosterone as males, rectifying a selenium deficiency and increasing nutrients like zinc and arginine can still have some very positive results in the bedroom.

At the higher levels of daily intake, athletes, bodybuilders and those with a known selenium deficiency have reported good results in health forums from taking two to three Brazil nuts for testosterone first thing in the morning and two to three in the evening before bed.

Unless you’re an athlete with higher selenium needs, or known to be deficient in the mineral, I personally think six a day is getting a bit high for regular use, particularly if you’re eating an especially strong batch of the nuts. Here’s why.

Brazil nuts selenium

Potential Side Effects

The National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine has set an upper limit of 400 mcg per day of selenium for adults and less for children. Just six selenium rich Brazil nuts could potentially exceed this amount.

While considered rare, symptoms of selenium overdose and side effects include nausea and even vomiting after eating them, possibly followed by hair loss and skin lesions in extreme cases.

Conversely, serious selenium deficiency can result in muscle weakness and pain, discoloration of the skin and hair and excessive whitening of the fingernail beds.

Clearly it’s important to get enough, but not too much selenium. With parts of the USA, like the Pacific Northwest, the Great Lakes region and parts of the Atlantic Coast, recognized as producing selenium deficient crops, it’s likely that the standard American diet is far from high in selenium.

How Many Brazil Nuts a Day?

For most people, two Brazil nuts a day is recommended. This should provide a good amount of selenium and other nutrients without going anywhere near the amounts that might cause side effects.

I find just a couple of these organic Brazil nuts particularly good for staving off hunger in the evening if you’re staying up watching a movie. Realistically though, having three or four nuts on occasions would be fine as well.

Particularly for men involved in exercise and weight training, having two Brazil nuts in the morning and two in the evening may help to boost testosterone levels. It’s recommended to not have more than six nuts a day on a regular basis as you may start to exceed a healthy selenium intake.

Have you use Brazil nuts for testosterone or taken them to increase your selenium intake before? I’d really like to hear how they made you feel and how many a day you think works best for you.

Photo 1 credit: jaydot / Photo 2 credit: TheLizardQueen


Before i read this article i have been eating as much as 20 to 30 nuts at a time though not every day. i would buy a bag containing 20 to 30 nuts and eat them up at once. Should i be worried.

Jim Dillan

Hi Uzoma,

That is quite a few and I’m amazed you managed it with how filling Brazil nuts are. Symptoms usually appear within hours if you’ve had too much selenium so I wouldn’t worry and just have two or three Brazil nuts in the future.

Hope this helps


Hi Uzoma,

What is the country of origin? I heard some varieties have very low selenium (e.g. the Bolivian has around 8 mcg per nut). Maybe you were getting something like this, and that’s why you didn’t get selenium-poisoning.

Philip Bohlken

I am approaching my 70th birthday in a few weeks. A few months ago I was beginning to experience some significant erectile dysfunction. I began eating an average of 4 to 10 Brazil nuts per day, depending on their size. I noticed a significant positive change in about four days with more improvement following. It is not as if I were 23 again, but has turned the clock back as if I were ten or so years younger, perhaps more.

Jim Dillan

Hi Philip,

Many people comment on how good Brazil nuts are for libido. As per the post 10 a day regularly may be a bit high in selenium though 4 should be ok

All the best,



I have heard (from that Dr.Oz show) about Brazil nuts being excellent for skin and hair…i have been curious about this and decided to read more do more research on the health benefits of 1-2 Brazil nuts per day…it took only a few days and i was starting to feel alot more energy and noticed i lost 15 with out adding any extra exercise it just sorta happend…happy that it boosed energey n possilbly help loose weight i was impressed then very suddly about one full week into eating 1-2 nuts per day one of my co workers mentioned my skin i was glowing she wanted the news…i laughed went and looked in the mirror and noticed for myself my skin looks and feels fantastic hair is getting longer too…very happy i looked into their benefits…ive been encouraging my hubby to start eating just one a day to see if he feels a difference ….ive got him about 3 a week maybe if i place on on his dinner plate each day he will eat it lol

Jim Dillan

Hi Terri-Lyn and thanks for the positive comments.

I’m glad to hear Brazil nuts have been working so well for you. Many people in the US are deficient in selenium and as you’ve found Brazil nuts are a great cure for this. Hope you’ll share the information with your friends as well.

All the best,



How do they make me feel ?
Well, now I have an explanation as to why my boiled egg and nut salads make me feel horny.

lntan Baharuddin

Hi all… Brazil nuts are so expensive here in TESCO Malaysia, so l take selenium supplement from time to time to help with my skin problems like acne & asthma. It works! :) How to cook & eat there amazing nuts? TQ

Jim Dillan

Hi Intan,

That’s a shame to hear Brazil nuts are expensive there. It might be worth looking at getting them in bulk on iherb with $4 international delivery

It’s best not cook Brazil nuts due to the delicate oils in them.

All the best,


Bert bunting

I shall try the Brazil nuts as I don’t Often get a hard on ps had a memtal break down a few years ago his there others things I can take aswell also to make me sleep better thank you very

Dave Candel

I tried some Brazil Nut Butter yes, butter, from Swanson Vitamin Supplements company and feel my middle getting healthy and strengthening. I have just started taking them along with Maca Powder from the same Co. And feel great! I suppose if one has any E.D. Trouble this combo is good.

Jim Dillan

Hi Dave,

I really like nut butters but have never tried Brazil nut butter strangely. I’m sure it’s a delicious way to have it and m glad you’re seeing benefits.

All the best,


Jim Dillan

Hi Bert,

Mucuna is a useful herb for better sleep

All the best,



What about making a nut milk from Brazil nuts? Would that be tasty or wise? I was wondering of you’d end up ingesting too much or if you would lose key nutrition.

Jim Dillan

Hi Elyse,

That’s an interesting idea. I guess it would come down to how concentrated you made the brazil nut milk and how much of the selenium is transferred into the milk. I’d say you wouldn’t want more than 5 nuts per milk to be safe.

All the best,



Hi there, thanks for sharing this valuable article and believe me or not but you are saving lives. I didn’t know how many benefits i could find just adding nust into my daily diet. i already have 40 years and as you know after we complete 30 years old our level of testosterone suffers a reduction that affects in many ways our sexual performance. Since i turned 40 i felt a reduction in my sexual libdo and it’s natural for a guy in my age, any way, i have advised to start a hormone teatment to replace testosterone but before start rhis process i decide to look for some help out of the traditional medicine and in my search i discovered the huge benefits that nuts and brazilian nuts can bring to my health in many aspects. After i have added at least 30 gm of brazilian nuts a day i have noticed that my sexual libdo has increased and almost every day when i wake up i am on fire….lol….Believe me nuts is a powerful food to replace testosterone levels in our body!

Jim Dillan

Hi Emilio,

Thank you for the positive comments and glad to hear Brazil nuts are working so well for you. Many people find they give them a really energy and libido boost.

One thing to be aware of is that 30 grams of Brazil nuts is quite high in selenium. Halfway down the article I mention the recommended selenium intake and later in the article some potential side effects. It’s likely that some adult men can have more selenium than other people but I’d still be aware of it.

All the best,


John A Vidauri

Nature’s best kept secret! These things are the real deal!! I find 2 every other day, work for me. Any more than that, can be painful. Your soldier will be fuller and fire even more intense!! Highly recommend these! Two thumbs up! 🖒🖒

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