Selenium Anticancer Supplements
Selenium, an essential dietary mineral that can act as an antioxidant when incorporated into proteins, has been shown in many studies to reduce the incidence of cancers - notably lung, colorectal and prostate.
The mineral selenium is probably our most important antioxidant nutrient, and few of us are getting enough of it! This is the opinion shared by many nutritional experts. Concern that many of us are not getting adequate amounts of this vital nutrient (due to soil depletion and food production processes), is being echoed worldwide.
A study coordinated by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) suggests higher consumption of selenium may reduce the risk of advanced colorectal cancer (Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev, 15, 2:315-20, 2006).
Researchers studied the association between serum selenium and advanced colorectal adenoma in 758 cases and 767 sex- and race-matched controls, randomly selected from the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial. Cases had at least one verified advanced adenoma of the distal colon, while controls had a negative sigmoidoscopy.
There was a significant inverse association between serum selenium and advanced colorectal adenoma among recent smokers; there was no relationship between serum selenium and adenoma risk in nonsmokers and former smokers who quit smoking more than 10 years before. The study concluded selenium may reduce the risk of developing advanced colorectal adenoma, particularly in the high-risk group of recent smokers.
We know that modern eating habits promote nutrient deficiencies too, so it's fairly reasonable to assume that most of us would benefit from adding selenium to our daily supplement intake. Finland, New Zealand, and parts of Australia and the United States are known to have low selenium levels.
The late Robert C Atkins, MD, stated there is good evidence that selenium-deficient soils lead to premature aging, and in his best selling book "Vita-nutrient Solution� Nature's Answer to Drugs." Atkins showed a compelling case for selenium - rating it as one of our most potent protector nutrients in the battle against free radical cell damage. He wrote:
"A substance that can cut cancer occurrences by almost 40% and decrease the cancer death rate by 50% should be heralded as our greatest medical breakthrough, and dispensed to every person in the world. We learned that selenium supplementation, had in fact achieved these earth shattering results"
Dr. Atkins was referring to research findings from a study on cancer and selenium, published in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association, Dec, 25th 1996, 276(24)
Other research has found that without the protection that optimum amounts of selenium provides, our defenses are severely compromised, leaving us open to conditions such as heart disease, hardening of the arteries, rheumatoid arthritis, and other oxidation-related afflictions. Also, our immune defenses are left vulnerable to invading pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, and other microbes. Some studies suggest taking supplemental selenium as a precautionary measure, may prevent the herpes and hepatitis viruses from getting a hold - it may even offer protection from the deadly Ebola virus!
Low selenium may be an important factor for smokers too - a study published Nov.1998 in the American Journal of Epidemiology, vol. 148, pp. 975-82, clearly showed low intake of selenium (especially when combined with low vitamin E intake), increased risk factors for lung cancer.
Other studies show that when the practice of fluoridating drinking water is combined with low selenium in the soil, there are higher incidences of skeletal fluorosis, bone fractures and osteoporosis, in the elderly and others at risk. Thus the authors conclude selenium tends to protect the skeleton from the harmful effects of fluoride - Fluoride, Vol 29, 2 May 1996, p62
Humans require adequate amounts of selenium to stay healthy. Doses of up to 400mcg a day of selenium have been found to be safe, and it is highly probable that supplementing with 200mcg a day will help us stay well. Despite all the 'wonders' of so called "modern medicine" statistics tell us we are not winning the war when it comes to the chronic health conditions so prevalent in western society. Many experts share the view that mineral depletion (amongst other things) plays a large part in the increasing rates of debilitating chronic illness.
Over farming and inorganic fertilizers are responsible for worldwide soil mineral depletion, and this means that many of us are not getting anywhere near the amounts of selenium (amongst other nutrients) required for good health. In New Zealand and parts of Australia and the United States, soils are so low in selenium that many of us are at risk of serious selenium deficiency, with the associated health problems. Therefore supplementing with selenium is vital if we are maintain or elevate our health, let alone stave off killer conditions like cancer and heart disease as we age - statistics show these conditions steadily increasing worldwide.
Several years ago the results of a large double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study of selenium supplementation was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The multi-year study showed that people given 200 micrograms of supplemental selenium daily had only half the death rate from cancer as people who were given a placebo instead of selenium. No harmful side effects were observed.
Has your doctor told you about this study or recommended that you take supplemental selenium to reduce your risk of cancer? We doubt it. He or she may well be unaware of this study; or, if aware, has dismissed it because it involved a simple, readily-available nutrient rather than a new wonder drug. But, if any pharmaceutical drug were available which cut the cancer death rate in half with no harmful side effects -- and none currently is -- you would see ads for it plastered on TV and magazines and your doctor would readily prescribe it for you.
If you want to reduce your risk of cancer with selenium you're probably not going to get the information you need from your doctor. Perhaps your doctor or a friend may tell you that selenium is toxic. It is in large doses, but it is quite safe in the 200 microgram dosage used in the JAMA study which, as noted above, found no harmful side effects. Cancer is a disease that we all dread, but now you have the power to significantly reduce your risk.
Selenium is a potent antioxidant, which binds with unstable molecules in our cells, preventing them researchers believe, from damaging cells and thus potentially causing cancer.
Selenium may help protect some women from developing breast cancer, research has suggested. The element helps the body defend itself. Scientists from the University of Illinois believe they may have worked out how selenium interacts with a natural body chemical to offer protection.
Studies have suggested that it can reduce the likelihood of other types of cancer, and some have linked it to a lowered chance of heart disease.
For over 20 years, animal studies have shown that tiny amounts of selenium in the diet can suppress cancer in several types of organs. The animal data is very strong, but human data is just emerging. We believe there are certain proteins in mammalian cells that contain selenium that can mediate the protective effects.
Studies show that a sufficient selenium intake may lower the risk of prostate, breast, colorectal and lung cancers. Now a recent study from Indiana University Cancer Center and Indiana University School of Medicine has explored the theory that selenium activates an important tumor-suppressing gene called p53.
In addition to its excellent cancer fighting abilities, many studies also show that selenium's antioxidant properties may also fight autoimmune disorders and help increase insulin efficiency. Other research has concluded that selenium may be able to stop viruses from mutating and becoming more potent. Clearly, the importance of selenium in our diets can't be overstated.
Plant foods are the major dietary sources of selenium, but the amount of selenium in any plant depends on the selenium content of the soil it's grown in. So while garlic tends to contain good amounts of this mineral, the amounts vary depending on the soil the garlic is grown in. Dr. Martin L. Smith, the author of the Indiana study, noted that the average diet probably falls short of 50 mcg per day. Furthermore, Dr. Smith believes that in order to reap the cancer preventive qualities of selenium, intake needs to be around 200 mcg per day.
Men with the lowest levels of selenium have a higher risk of developing prostate cancer than those with more significant amounts of the mineral. Larry C. Clark, MPH, PhD, of the University of Arizona, and James Brooks, MD, of Stanford University both reported on the use of selenium as a cancer deterrent.
Dr. Brooks, assistant professor of urology and associate chief of urologic oncology at Stanford, investigated pre-diagnostic serum selenium levels to determine if they correlated with the risk of cancer development. He and colleagues concluded that serum selenium levels decreased with age, and that the observed risk of prostate cancer was lower in men with serum selenium levels above the lowest quartile.
"This was a study by colleagues from Stanford, Johns Hopkins University, and the National Institute of Aging of a group of men in the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging who have been followed with serial rectal examinations and serum PSA determinations on archived serum samples since the inception of the study in the late 1950s." Fifty-two patients developed prostate cancer. Because blood samples from several years before diagnosis were available, he said, investigators were able to measure the selenium levels in patients' blood an average of 3 to 4 years prior to diagnosis.
"We compared that data with a group of age-matched controls who we know did not develop prostate cancer, and who we know continue to have no signs of prostate cancer because they've been screened effectively with PSA and DREs," he said.
The comparison suggested that men with the lowest values of selenium are at a two-fold higher risk for developing prostate cancer.
"So having a low serum selenium level confers a higher risk of getting prostate cancer," said Dr. Brooks.
Dr. Brooks noted results similar to those of Dr. Clark in his initial study with skin cancer patients. Ultimately, they concluded that plasma levels of 1,25-D and melatonin did not explain prostate cancer incidence, but that selenium may partly protect against prostate carcinogenesis by raising plasma levels of 25- D.
"What this suggests is that there's an association, possibly biologic, between selenium and 25-D levels, with selenium raising 25-D levels," said Dr. Clark. "In our previous study, we observed a 67% reduction in prostate cancer incidence with a 200 mcg supplement of selenium. This involved a 10-year time period.
Selenium is also essential for healthy immune functioning. As a result, selenium supplementation has reduced the incidence of hepatitis in deficient populations. Even in a non-deficient population of elderly people, selenium supplementation has been found to stimulate the activity of white blood cells �primary components of the immune system. Selenium is also needed to activate thyroid hormones.
FH-62-0 Selenium 100mcg 100tabs $8.95
You may also wish to try our Ultra E which contains 400 IU Vitamin E (d-alpha tocopherol) plus other mixed tocopherols and 25 mcg selenium.
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"Selenomethionine Regulation of P53 by a Ref1-Dependent Redox Mechanism" Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 99, Issue 22, 14548-14553, 10/29/02
"Findings Shed Light on how Selenium Prevents Cancer" American Society of Clinical Oncology, 9/24/02
"Selenium Activates Cancer Suppressor Gene: Study" Suzanne Rostler, Reuters Health
"Selenium: What is it?" NIH Clinical Center "Nutrients Are Key to Preventing Cancer" Lauran Neergaard, Associated Press, 12/2/02
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