The role of selenium in nutrition – A review

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Abstract

The role of selenium has been changed over the last decade. The element that was previously considered to be toxic turned out to be present in the human body in amounts of 10–15 mg, and almost every cell of our body contains it. Selenium contributes to growth, supports healthy muscle activity, reproductive organs, reduces the toxicity of certain elements such as mercury, supports the immune system, and even delays the spread of certain viruses (influenza, Ebola, HIV). Selenium-deficient areas of Europe could be a risk for their populations. The recommended daily intake (RDA) of selenium is 55 µg/day, while WHO and FAO have set up the daily tolerable dose at 400 µg/day. We must count with the harmful effects of selenium overdose, but it is almost impossible to introduce this amount into our body solely with food. Our selenium sources can be refilled with food supplements or selenium-enriched functional foods. In the review article, we report about the role of selenium in the environment, selenium-enriched plants, selenium-enriched yeast, the role of selenium in animal feed and in the human body, the opportunities of selenium restoration, selenium-enriched animal products, and the selenium content of milk.

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