Selenomethionine is an amino acid containing selenium. The L-isomer of selenomethionine, known as Se-met and Sem, is a common natural food source of selenium. In vivo, selenomethionine is randomly incorporated instead of methionine and is readily oxidized. Its antioxidant activity arises from its ability to deplete reactive species. Selenium and sulfur are chalcogen elements that share many chemical properties and the substitution of methionine to selenomethionine has no effect on proteins structure and function.

Incorporation of selenomethionine into proteins in place of Methionine aids the structure elucidation of proteins by X-ray crystallography using multi-wavelength anomalous diffraction (MAD). The incorporation of heavy atoms such as Selenium helps solving the phase problem in X-ray crystallography.

It has been suggested that selenomethionine, which is an organic form of selenium, is easier for the human body to absorb than selenite, which is an inorganic form. It was determined in a clinical trial that selenomethionine is absorbed 19% better than selenite.


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