Latest News » FDA stresses importance of selenium for infants

Its important for infants to get the nutrients they need.

Its important for infants to get the nutrients they need.

While the benefits of calcium are relatively well-known, the general public may not have quite as solid a grasp of how other minerals enhance their overall health. Selenium – a compound derived from various plants, nuts and seafood – has recently been singled out by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which has called for its inclusion in baby formula.

So, what exactly does selenium do? The National Institutes of Health’s Office of Dietary Supplements explains that this mineral combines with proteins to create powerful antioxidant enzymes that can mediate the damage done by free radicals – the harmful byproducts of oxygen metabolism. The source notes that selenium can also boost the immune system and facilitate healthy thyroid function.

The new report from the FDA states that minimum and maximum intake levels should be set for selenium in infant formula. “This regulation is needed because selenium is now recognized as an essential nutrient for humans,” the proposed rule, which has been posted by the U.S. government’s Federal Register, states.

The rule calls for selenium to be added to “the list of required nutrients,” do to the role it plays in overall health and development.

“At the time FDA established nutrient specifications for infant formula, selenium was not recognized as an essential nutrient and was not […] required by statute in infant formula,” the report reads.

Selenium is one of many vitamins and minerals that are essential for brain health and physical growth. While everyone can stand to increase their nutrient intake, it is particularly important for pregnant women and young children to have access to these essential compounds.

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