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Selenium Science

Friday, April 07, 2017

Selenium is a micronutrient first described in 1817. Its levels in the body are dependent of the population’s characteristics, its diet and geographical area (mainly on the soil composition).

Selenium has been studied for years, and it has been scientifically proven that selenium plays a crucial role in the maintenance of immune-endocrine function, metabolism and cellular homeostasis.

According to the Oregon State University, Linus Pauling Institute, the primary dietary intake of selenium is from organ meats and seafood, followed by muscle meats. Brazil nuts can be a fabulous source of selenium, depending on the selenium content of the soil in which they are grown.

Selenium is an essential trace element, but like all essential elements, it can be toxic at high levels. Humans require selenium for the appropriate function of a number of selenium-dependent enzymes known as selenoproteins.

Research is gradually uncovering the metabolic functions of all human selenoproteins. During protein synthesis, the amino acid selenocysteine is incorporated into elongating proteins at very specific locations in the amino acid sequence in order to form functional selenoproteins.

Some of the identified functions include stimulation of glutathione peroxidases expressed in the intestinal lining and lungs, thyroid gland and kidneys, olfactory epithelium, and all antioxidant enzymes that reduce potentially damaging reactive oxygen species (ROS), including in the eyes.

The current recommended daily intake of selenium is 55 mcg, with the safe upper levels (UL) established by the Institute of Medicine Food and Nutrition Board being 400 mcg per day including dietary and supplemental selenium.

Selenium is available in both organic compounds (selenomethionine and selenocysteine) and in inorganic compounds (selenate and selenite).
Ellen Troyer with Spencer Thornton, MD, David Amess and the Biosyntrx staff


A 2014 prospective case-control study performed between 2009 and 2012 at endocrine and ophthalmology clinics in Australia on a total of 198 subjects found that serum selenium levels were lowest in subjects with the least healthy eyes.

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