Overview of L-Selenomethionine

3/16/2011 - Selenium


Selenium is a trace mineral that is essential to humans and almost all other animals. Named for the Greek goddess of the moon, selenium was first discovered by J.J. Berzelius in 1817. The mineral was found as red deposits in the production of sulfur.

Similar in chemical and physical characteristics, selenium is found directly beneath sulfur on the periodic table of the elements. Selenium exists at various levels in soils throughout the world. It can be found in whole grains, legumes, meats and seafood. Selenium concentration in these foods is dependant on the selenium in
the soil for plant sources or the selenium in the diet for animal sources.

The nutritional importance of selenium was recognized in the late 1950's, as a study showed liver disease in rats caused by diets with no selenium. Subsequent studies began to illuminate many different diseases in animals with low selenium intakes. In 1973, J. Rotruck discovered a selenium containing protein known as glutathione peroxidase. Glutathione peroxidase is named for the enzymatic action of this protein.

This enzyme eliminates potential harmful hydrogen peroxide that is produced as a normal product of cell metabolism. There are four available glutathione peroxidases. All four are dependant on the supply of selenium. They have super antioxidant properties and operate in various tissues in the body. In all, there are 25 different human selenium containing enzymes and proteins.

Much attention is given to the chemopreventive properties of selenium. The first human evidence of the cancer prevention properties of selenium came from the NIH funded Clark et al study released in 1996. The study was designed to test the prevention of skin cancer through selenium supplementation.

The study actually showed a decrease in the incidence of prostate, lung and colorectal cancer of about 50%. The intriguing results of this study are being further studied in the NIH sponsored Select Trial (http://cancer.gov/select). Other areas of current study include the possible benefits of selenium supplementation on heart disease, arthritis, HIV and viral immunity enhancement.


The selenium found in cereal grains like wheat, is almost all L-selenomethionine. Methionine is a sulfur containing amino acid essential for humans and animals. It is necessary for the synthesis of body proteins. Plants make L-selenomethionine from selenium in the soil. Animals consume their selenium from their food sources. If there is sufficient L-selenomethionine in an animal's diet, it is incorporated into muscle proteins. Approximately 90% of selenium, in the human diet, is in the form
of L-selenomethionine.

L-selenomethionine has been shown to be more bioavailable than inorganic forms of selenium such as sodium selenite. Due to its inclusion in body proteins, L-selenomethionine is retained in the body for longer periods of time than inorganic selenium. This implies that the selenium in L-selenomethionine is efficiently absorbed, utilized and reutilized in the body.

Kelatron Corporation is proud to offer two L-selenomethionine products as part of the BioMintm product line. L-selenomethionine is available as a pure compound (40% Se) or as a trituration on dicalcium phosphate (0.5% Se). Please contact your customer service representative for product specifications and pricing.


Deagan JT, Butler JA, Beilstein MA, et al. Effects of dietary selenite, SeCys and selenomethionine on selenocysteine lyase and glutathione peroxidase activities and on selenium levels in rat tissues. J Nutr. 1987;117:91-98
Swanson CA, Patterson BH, Levander OA, et al. Human (74Se)selenomethionine metabolism: a kinetic model. Am J Clin Nutr. 1991;54:917-926