The Science


Selenium is an essential mineral and antioxidant that supports numerous bodily processes, including the immune system. And according to the US Office of Dietary Supplements, it plays a key role in “reproduction, thyroid hormone metabolism, DNA synthesis, and protection from oxidative damage and infection.”


Occurrence in Food & Supplements

“Selenium is present in foods particularly fish, offal, Brazil nuts, eggs and cereals. In foods, selenium is generally present as the amino acid derivatives selenomethionine and selenocysteine. [It] is present in a number of food supplements at doses up to 0.3 mg/daily dose.” (EVM 2003)

Absorption & Bioavailability

 “Selenium compounds are readily absorbed from the small intestine” (EVM 2003). “Selenomethionine [as used in Nutrienta Supplements] is better absorbed than selenite” (PubMed).

Safe Daily Level

“A Safe Upper Level for total selenium intake of 0.45 mg/day [450 μg/day] can therefore be derived.” (EVM 2003)

Selenium Health Benefits


  • contributes to the normal function of the immune system.
  • contributes to the protection of cells from oxidative stress.
  • contributes to the normal thyroid function.
  • contributes to the maintenance of normal hair.
  • contributes to the maintenance of normal nails.
  • contributes to normal spermatogenesis.

Further Information


“Selenium is an essential micronutrient that plays a crucial role in development and a wide variety of physiological processes including effect immune responses. The immune system relies on adequate dietary selenium intake and this nutrient exerts its biological effects mostly through its incorporation into selenoproteins… Dysregulation of these processes may lead to inflammation or immune-related diseases.” (PubMed)

Other Potential Benefits of Selenium

Although you may have never heard of selenium, it is an amazing nutrients that is beneficial to health in so many ways:

  1. It reduces oxidative stress, which has been linked to chronic conditions like heart disease, cancer, stroke, Alzheimer’s and premature aging.
  2. It may help to lower the risk of certain type of cancer. A review of 69 clinical studies involving 350,000 people found that a high blood level of selenium was associated with a lower risk of lung, breast, colon and prostate cancers.
  3. It may protect against heart disease. Analysis of 25 studies showed a 50% increase in blood selenium levels was associated with a 24% reduction in the risk of heart disease.
  4. It may help to prevent mental decline. Patients with Alzheimer’s disease have lower blood levels of selenium, and antioxidant supplements may improve memory in patients with Alzheimer’s.
  5. It is important for thyroid health. A study of 6,000 people found that low blood levels of selenium were associated with an increased risk of autoimmune thyroiditis and hypothyroidism.
  6. It may help to reduce asthma symptoms. A small study showed that asthmatic patients with higher levels of blood selenium had better lung function than those with lower levels.
  7. It boosts the immune system. Selenium deficiency has been shown to harm immune cell function and may lead to a slower immune response. And selenium supplements may help to strengthen the immune system of people with viral and bacterial infections, such as influenza, tuberculosis and hepatitis C.


Scientific References

“Dietary selenium… plays an important role in inflammation and immunity. Adequate levels of selenium are important for initiating immunity, but they are also involved in regulating excessive immune responses and chronic inflammation. Selenium deficiency has long been recognized to negatively impact immune cells”.
Huang Z, Rose AH, Hoffmann PR. The role of selenium in inflammation and immunity: from molecular mechanisms to therapeutic opportunities. Antioxid Redox Signal. 2012 Apr 1;16(7):705-43. doi: 10.1089/ars.2011.4145. Epub 2012 Jan 9. PMID: 21955027; PMCID: PMC3277928.

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“The notion that selenium ‘boosts’ the immune system has been supported by studies involving aging immunity or protection against certain pathogens.”
Hoffmann PR, Berry MJ. The influence of selenium on immune responses. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2008 Nov;52(11):1273-80. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.200700330. PMID: 18384097; PMCID: PMC3723386.

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