Selenium

Selenium (Se) is a trace mineral found in plants, as well as in some meat and seafood. Se is incorporated into proteins to form selenoproteins that are essential antioxidant enzymes. These antioxidant properties aid in preventing and diminishing cellular damage from free radicals. Studies have noted at least 25 selenoproteins in human body to help maintain normal sperm structure integrity [46].

Se has been suggested to be vital for proper testicular development, spermatogenesis, and spermatozoa motility and function [81]. Deficiency of Se has been linked to a loss of sperm motility, instability of the mitochondrial midpiece, and morphological abnormalities [46, 81]. The loss of motility may be a result of depletion in energy supply from mitochondrial instability.

Much controversy still remains concerning the exact mode by which Se eliminates oxidative damage to improve semen quality. It has been suggested that Se may be mediated by selenoenzymes, such as phospholipid hydroperoxide GSH-peroxidase (GSH-Px) or the sperm capsular selenoprotein GSH-Px, which are related to the production of functional spermatozoa [82] . The most recent studies are summarized in Table 22.5.

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