Biological activity of selenium: Revisited

Jagoda K. Wrobel, Ronan Power, Michal Toborek

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

96 Scopus citations


Selenium (Se) is an essential micronutrient that exerts multiple and complex effects on human health. Se is essential for human well-being largely due to its potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral properties. The physiological functions of Se are carried out by selenoproteins, in which Se is specifically incorporated as the amino acid, selenocysteine. Importantly, both beneficial and toxic effects of Se have been reported suggesting that the mode of action of Se is strictly chemical form and concentration dependent. Additionally, there is a relatively narrow window between Se deficiency and toxicity and growing evidence suggests that Se health effects depend greatly on the baseline level of this micronutrient. Thus, Se supplementation is not an easy task and requires an individualized approach. It is essential that we continue to explore and better characterize Se containing compounds and mechanisms of action, which could be crucial for disease prevention and treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)97-105
Number of pages9
JournalIUBMB life
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016


  • brain
  • cancer
  • human nutrition
  • selenium
  • selenoproteins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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