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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Bioavailability of Selenium from Foods

Author
item Finley, John

Submitted to: Nutrition Reviews
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: September 22, 2005
Publication Date: March 1, 2006
Repository URL: http://handle.nal.usda.gov/10113/45974
Citation: Finley, J.W. 2006. Bioavailability of selenium from foods. Nutrition Reviews. 64(3):146-151.

Interpretive Summary: Selenium (Se), an essential nutrient, is needed for activity of several important proteins; additionally, consumption of Se in amounts that exceed the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) may protect against prostate and colorectal cancer. Supplemental Se may be acquired through the diet by consuming Se-enriched foods. However the chemical forms, and consequently the bioavailability, of Se differ between foods. Selenium is covalently bound in multiple compounds that follow different metabolic routes; therefore determination of the bioavailability of these compounds must assess biological transformations to metabolically active forms. The ability of a particular source of Se to restore depleted tissue Se status or selenoprotein activity are the most common measures of bioavailability and have been reported for multiple Se-containing foods including red meats, fish, grains and vegetables. A powerful, albeit less common method is to follow the absorption, retention and excretion of stable Se isotopes intrinsically incorporated into foods. More complete understanding of the action of Se from food sources depends on complete characterization of Se in these foods.

Technical Abstract: Selenium (Se), an essential nutrient, is needed for activity of several important proteins; additionally, consumption of Se in amounts that exceed the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) may protect against prostate and colorectal cancer. Supplemental Se may be acquired through the diet by consuming Se-enriched foods. However the chemical forms, and consequently the bioavailability, of Se differ between foods. Selenium is covalently bound in multiple compounds that follow different metabolic routes; therefore determination of the bioavailability of these compounds must assess biological transformations to metabolically active forms. The ability of a particular source of Se to restore depleted tissue Se status or selenoprotein activity are the most common measures of bioavailability and have been reported for multiple Se-containing foods including red meats, fish, grains and vegetables. A powerful, albeit less common method is to follow the absorption, retention and excretion of stable Se isotopes intrinsically incorporated into foods. More complete understanding of the action of Se from food sources depends on complete characterization of Se in these foods.

Last Modified: 10/30/2014
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