How Selenium Works in the Body – Effects on Cancer, Diabetes and Heart Disease – Treatment Practice

How Selenium Works in the Body - Effects on Cancer, Diabetes and Heart Disease - Treatment Practice

Important processes in the absorption of selenium decoded

For the first time, an international research team has decrypted critical processes in connection with the Intake of the essential trace element selenium attached. The findings may have implications for the treatment of many different conditions such as: Cancer, diabetes and heart disease affect.

A German-American working group was able to show for the first time that trace element selenium In 25 special proteins is installed. These proteins are involved in a variety of cellular and metabolic processes is included and therefore . be important for Holistic Health, The results of the related study were published in the renowned journal “science” Presents.

Selenium is an important trace element

selenium is an important trace element, which is found in soil, water and some foods. Among other things, it is in grocery Such as meat, fish, eggs, mushrooms, cabbage, onion vegetables, lentils, asparagus and nuts.

most detailed explanation ever

As part of the current study, researchers are now able to explain in the most detailed way how selenium gets to places in the body where the trace element is needed. all together 25 proteins so are on transport of selenium Involved.

Selenium is first derived from essential amino acids, according to study selenocysteine Encapsulated. The amino acids are then incorporated into 25 different proteins known as Selenium Protein be nominated.

Never-before-seen structures revealed

“This work features structures that have never been observed before, some of which are unique in biology”Study author emphasizes Professor Paul Copeland from Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

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With the help of the most modern imaging technology – so called cryo-electron microscopywhich uses electron beams instead of light, the team was able to generate three-dimensional images of complex biological structures with near-atomic resolution.

In this way, scientists were able to understand the complex structures of protein and others biological molecules represent. By combining thousands of images, one was created stop motion animationShowing how these structures move and change.

How does selenium get where it needs to be in the body

Thus it was possible to document for the first time how Incorporation of selenium into proteins and what complex cellular machinery is employed for this. It was already known which proteins and RNA molecules enable these processes.

However, it was previously unclear how the components involved interact. Study now shows for the first time an ongoing process that would otherwise There is no other known process in the human body is comparable.

It involves linking the amino acid selenocysteine ​​(SEC) to a unique RNA molecule that needs to be transported to the ribosome via a special protein factor, explains Professor Copeland, whose team spent 20 years trying to understand this process. Have spent

“And it all evolved specifically in humans to incorporate selenium into this handful of proteins”Professor explains.

What does selenium protein do in the body

According to the working group, once SECs are incorporated into selenoproteins, the proteins supply a variety of important workFor him growth and development are necessary. For example

  • They produce the so-called nucleotides, the building blocks of DNA.
  • breaking down or storing fat for energy
  • cell membrane formation
  • Produces thyroid hormones, which regulate the metabolism of the human body,
  • Selenium proteins respond to oxidative stress by detoxifying by-products in cells.
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Findings relevant to many diseases

Is Inhibits production of selenium proteinscan be serious disease and disease arise, emphasize the scientists involved. Diseases associated with poor production of selenium protein include, for example

“Understanding the mechanism by which SECs are taken up is a fundamental part of developing new treatments for a variety of diseases.”summed up copeland,

Several institutions in Germany and the United States were involved in the study, including Rutgers University in New Jersey, the Institute for Medical Physics and Biophysics in Berlin, the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics in Berlin, and the University of Illinois at Chicago. (VB)

Author and source information

This text matches the medical specialist literature, medical guidelines and specifications of current studies and has been checked by medical professionals.


Graduate Editor (FH) Volker Blasecki


  • Paul Copeland, Tarek Hilal, Benjamin Y. Killam et al.: Structure of the mammalian ribosome as it decodes the selenocysteine ​​UGA codon; In: Science (2022),
  • Rutgers University: Important cell machinery behind selenium incorporation observed for the first time in the human body (Published: 06/20/2022),
  • Public Health Portal in Austria: Selenium (Accessed: 21 June 2022),

Important Articles:
This article is general advice only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment. He cannot take the place of visiting the doctor.

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