Selenocysteine: Uses and Sources

Selenocysteine wonderfully exists almost everywhere and can be found on several enzymes present on the living things. Curiously, the deficiency and disruption of the amount of selenocysteine in the human body lead to neurodegenerative and other diseases.

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What is selenocysteine? We should not be intimidated though if we can help it, we should be even more concerned about getting informed with this term. The amino acids in our body have an important role and mechanism in our body.

This article will give us a glimpse of the nature, uses, and sources of the selenocysteine.

Unlike some other types of amino acid, it can be produced by our body gave that our body has cysteine on it. Selenocysteine may be produced by our body but it is a possibility that the body might be deficient of it. However, our body can get it from the food that we eat that is rich in the macronutrient – protein.

Selenocysteine wonderfully exists almost everywhere and can be found on several enzymes present on the living things. These enzymes have their functions and place for each chemical mechanism and process in all living things. Researchers found out that a deficiency of the selenocysteine in the brain can reduce brain performance and overall health which leads to brain conditions and syndromes.

The Uses of Selenocysteine In the Human Body

So what are the uses of selenocysteine for our body?

  1. A building block of most of the enzymes that operate in the chemical processes and mechanism in our body.
  2. Selenocysteine Into Glucose: This amino acid has another vital role in the human body. It acts as an alternative for glucose. When the body cannot find any glucose, selenocysteine contributes to the conversion of the glucogenic amino acid into glucose. This is to fuel your liver into producing energy in your body.
  3. Biotechnology: It is used in biotechnology in myriads of ways. From stabilizing isotopes to positron emissions, it has proven itself to be a versatile tool in the field of Science.
  4. Absorbs metal lodged: There is insufficient evidence on this. There is research though that states the probability of selenocysteine absorbing metals and mercury in the gut. If the absorption theory is true, it will be an excellent contributing factor in improving the immunity system.
  5. It is involved in the oxidation process: The selenocysteine repairs some damages in the proteins of the body. It also contributes to the regulating of the redox system of our body.
  6. The selenocysteine contributes significantly to muscle functions
  7. Protects DNA from any damage: A study suggests that it can reduce the risk factor of colon and prostate cancer.
  8. It acts as an antioxidant: According to research, selenocysteine acts like an antioxidant if they are within the mammalian species. The prevention of increased free radicals may help in reducing the possibility of cancer.

Sources of Selenocysteine

The human body can positively produce selenocysteine inherently to support its daily needs. This amino acid can be outsourced from edible foods that we can intake. We can source out selenocysteine from the following:

  • Dairy products
  • Fish/Seafood (sushi, salmon, milkfish)
  • Meat (white and red)
  • Nuts
  • Cereal (corn cereals, wheat cereal, oats cereals)
  • Rice (brown rice, white rice)
  • Fruits (Avocado, grapes, oranges)
  • Leafy greens, legumes

Aside from the edible food that we can eat, it can also be outsourced by the intake of supplements. Some of these supplements are over them, and some are prescriptive.


As a supplement, if not taken correctly, it might have side effects such as

  • Dizziness
  • Stomach ache
  • Flatulence
  • Halitosis
  • Sudden tiredness
  • Numbness
  • Tingling sensation
  • Unusually weak hair and nails

All the benefits or uses discussed above are suggested by studies, and no concrete conclusions are yet to be drawn from them as they are all made with clinical barriers. Clinical barriers include no human subjects, limited knowledge or knowledge gaps in determining how can selenocysteine work to reduce the risk factors of cancer.

The Uses of Selenocysteine In the Human Body

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