Selenium nanoparticles (Se NPs) possess well-known excellent biological activities and low toxicity, and have been employed for numerous applications except as inhibitors to protein glycation. Herein, the present study is carried out to investigate the inhibitory effect of Se NPs on protein glycation in a bovine serum albumin (BSA)/glucose system. By measuring the amount of glucose covalently bound onto BSA, the formation of fructosamine and fluorescent products, it is found that Se NPs can hinder the development of protein glycation in a dose-dependent but time-independent manner under the selected reaction conditions (55 °C, 40 h). And after comparing the increase of inhibitory rate in different stages, it is observed that Se NPs show the greatest inhibitory effect in the early stage, then in the advanced stage, but no effect in the intermediate stage. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy characterization of Se NPs collected after glycation and determination of ·OH influence and glyoxal formation show that the mechanism for the inhibitory efficacy of Se NPs is related to their strong competitive activity against available amino groups in proteins, their great scavenging activity on reactive oxygen species and their inhibitory effect on α-dicarbonyl compounds' formation. In addition, it is proved that Se NPs protect proteins from structural modifications in the system and they do not exhibit significant cytotoxicity towards BV-2 and BRL-3A cells at low concentrations (10 and 50 μg mL(-1)). Consequently, Se NPs may be suitable for further in vivo studies as novel anti-glycation agents.