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Selenium and Anxiety

Jenna Howell
Jenna Howell
Faculty Adviser(s)

Dietary patterns have been shown to play a role in the development of anxiety. A balanced diet including a variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, and lean proteins that supply specific minerals may be beneficial for the prevention or treatment of anxiety-related disorders. This investigation aims to evaluate the anxiety-reducing properties of selenium as a necessary nutrient found in food and dietary supplements. Selenium is an essential mineral involved in regulating thyroid hormone metabolism, DNA synthesis, reproduction, and immune system support, as well as functioning as an antioxidant. Clinical and preclinical studies show evidence that supports a positive correlation between dietary selenium intake or selenium-based treatments and reduced anxiety. A possible explanation for this observed anxiety-reducing effect is the combined impact of reduced oxidative stress, improved regulation of thyroid function, and improved function of selenium-based proteins required for human health. The impact of selenium on anxiety is not fully understood and is only recently gaining the attention of the research community. Further research is needed to better understand this connection. The work represented here is part of a peer-reviewed scientific literature review coauthored by Salem College students and faculty and published in the open-access journal Dietetics. (



Jenna Howell is a chemistry major and nutrition minor expecting to graduate in May of 2023.  While at Salem, she has served as Vice President of the American Chemical Society club. She participated in a National Science Foundation summer internship at Wake Forest University. Jenna has accepted an offer to pursue her PhD in chemistry at Wake Forest University starting in fall 2023 and will be supported by a graduate research assistantship.


I wish you well tomorrow and I hope your friends ask you lots of good questions! Good luck at Wake next year (and the next, and the next...)

Submitted by Paula_Young on Tue, 04/11/2023 - 19:52 Permalink