Selenium and Brain Function

Brain cells are especially vulnerable to oxidative stress, which could be a factor in the pathology of neurodegenerative disorders. The danger of oxidative damage caused by free radicals (oxygen reactive species) is great because 1)  the neurons use large quantities of oxygen, 2) the brain has high iron content, 3) neuronal mitochondria produce large quantities of hydrogen peroxide, and 4) neuronal membranes are full of polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are susceptible to oxidative stress [Shichiri, 2014]. Adequate supply of selenium and synthesis of antioxidant selenoproteins are necessary to counteract the harmful effects of oxidative stress.
A review of the research literature on selenium and selenoprotein function in brain disorders reveals that selenium deficiency is associated with impaired cognitive function and impaired motor function [Pillai].

It is interesting to note that selenium concentrations are preferentially maintained in the brain even when the selenium concentrations in the blood circulation, in the liver, and in the skeletal tissues are depleted [Pillai].

Selenium supplementation may help to reduce the progression of the pathology of neurodegenerative diseases: Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s, and Parkinson’s [Pillai].

Selenium and Selenoproteins

What do we know about the trace element selenium and its incorporation into selenoproteins? read more