An essential nutrient, selenium is a component of enzymes and proteins, called selenoproteins, which possess antioxidant properties that support DNA production and protection.1 Research suggests this mineral benefits immunity, thyroid health, and potentially, cancer and cardiovascular disease.2 Perhaps due to its antioxidant properties, selenium may be particularly valuable for male and female fertility, including sperm development and quality, fertilization, and pregnancy.
What Is Selenium?
While selenium is an essential nutrient, it’s considered a trace mineral, meaning you only need a little. Selenium is mostly stored in muscle tissue, although the thyroid gland has the highest concentration, due to the selenoproteins assisting thyroid function.
Selenium is sufficiently provided in nutritional supplements, which are often combined with other antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E. Selenium is also found in many foods, with the highest amounts being found in Brazil nuts and seafood. Other food sources include protein-rich options, like beef, poultry, pork, and eggs, and fortified bread and grains, beans, and lentils.
Selenium And Antioxidative Benefits
Selenium possesses the properties of antioxidants, a nutrient that defends against cellular damage from harmful molecules called free radicals. These molecules contribute to processes associated with fertility, such as ovulation.3 However, too many free radicals can result in oxidative stress, which harms both female and male fertility. Studies show that selenium supplements may lessen oxidative stress and accompanying inflammation, especially among men with reduced sperm motility (the ability to swim).4
How Selenium Supports Male Fertility
Aside from motility, selenium may promote important benefits for sperm quality, including morphology (shape), and its development, also called spermatogenesis.5 These benefits may be further enhanced when combined with vitamin E supplementation.
Selenium deficiencies are associated with poor sperm quality and mobility. They may also interfere with the testicles’ ability to produce sperm and the hormone testosterone.6 But research shows that for infertile men, selenium and zinc supplements, taken separately or together, up to the recommended daily intake, can improve sperm quality and reduce sperm damage due to free radicals.
How Selenium Supports Female Fertility
Selenium displays multiple benefits for female fertility, likely due to its antioxidative properties. It may help promote the development of uterine follicles, small fluid sacs that hold eggs, and the process in which eggs become dominant, achieving ovulation.7 Selenium protects the dominant follicle, the developing embryo, and the endometrium, the uterine lining that thickens during menstruation for possible embryo implantation.
Selenium promotes hormone production, including estrogen, progesterone, and T4, a crucial thyroid hormone.8 For pregnancy, selenium’s antioxidant benefits may protect the placenta from oxidative stress, which can lead to such conditions as pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes. Deficiencies are particularly harmful to pregnancy, contributing to such complications as miscarriages and fetal nervous system damage.
Shop Supplements With Selenium for Improved Fertility
Nutrabloom carries a wide array of selenium supplements. Formulated by fertility experts, they’re designed to support fertility, including sperm and egg health and quality, conception, and pregnancy. You can find optimal forms and amounts of selenium in Nutrabloom’s Male Fertility Formula and Organic Whole Food Prenatal Multivitamins.
Adult men and women (19 years and up) – 55 micrograms (mcg) per day. However, pregnant and lactating women require about 60 and 70 micrograms daily, respectively.