Selenium: Essence in Animal Nutrition

Selenium is an essential trace element in animal nutrition, and has vital role to play in animal production, fertility and disease prevention. It is essential for the efficient and effective function of the animal’s immunity.  

Also, it is an essential component of selenocysteine-containing protein that is involved in cells functioning and biochemistry thereby influencing the immune system. It serve as an antioxidant through the selenium-dependent enzyme, glutathione peroxidase, protect cellular membranes and organelles from peroxidative damage. Selenium is beneficial in animal nutrition and it’s deficiency can result into  a major loss livestock business. The animals body system is alway under attack free radicals as a result normal metabolic activities and immune system functioning in destroying invading organisms. 

Hatching process is an oxidative stress and improvement in antioxidant defences of the embryo can increase hatchability. The roles of Se in poultry nutrition and reproduction need new consideration in light of our recent knowledge on the molecular mechanisms of Se action at the cellular and sub-cellular levels.

The signs and symptoms of selenium deficiency in livestock is characterized by cardiomyopathy while moderate deficiency results in less severe, muscular pain, weakness and varieties of other selenium-associated diseases. Others include:

  • Selenium deficiency affects lymphocytes proliferation;
  • It affects the cell – mediated immunity which leads to destruction of neoplastic cell;
  • Selenium deficient animals are susceptible to cardiac damage;

Different forms of Se supplements are used in animal nutrition but many factors affect their activity and efficacy such as its chemical form and animal’s health and production condition.

Inorganic selenium cannot be stored in the body and that is why organic selenium are efficiently used in the body system.

Adequate dietary selenium is essential for the activity of virtually all arms of the immune system and overall performance of animals.


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