Role for Selenium in Metabolic Homeostasis and Human Reproduction

Nutrients. 2021 Sep 18;13(9):3256. doi: 10.3390/nu13093256.


Selenium (Se) is a micronutrient essential for life. Dietary intake of Se within the physiological range is critical for human health and reproductive functions. Selenium levels outside the recommended range have been implicated in infertility and variety of other human diseases. However, presently it is not clear how different dietary Se sources are processed in our bodies, and in which form or how much dietary Se is optimum to maintain metabolic homeostasis and boost reproductive health. This uncertainty leads to imprecision in published dietary guidelines and advice for human daily intake of Se and in some cases generating controversies and even adverse outcomes including mortality. The chief aim for this review is to describe the sources of organic and inorganic Se, the metabolic pathways of selenoproteins synthesis, and the critical role of selenprotenis in the thyroid gland homeostasis and reproductive/fertility functions. Controversies on the use of Se in clinical practice and future directions to address these challenges are also described and discussed herein.

Keywords: body metabolism; fertility; hormones; obesity; selenium; selenoproteins; thyroid.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diet
  • Female
  • Fertility / physiology
  • Homeostasis / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Reproduction / physiology*
  • Selenium / administration & dosage
  • Selenium / deficiency
  • Selenium / physiology*
  • Selenoproteins / biosynthesis
  • Selenoproteins / physiology
  • Thyroid Gland / physiology


  • Selenoproteins
  • Selenium