Selenium: The Cancer Cutting Mineral

Selenium has been known for its cancer-combating properties for many years, with research trials dating as far back as the early 1980’s.

An Australian study has shown that selenium could dramatically cut the incidence of bowel cancer – an illness that kills thousands of Australians every year.

The study, run by Professor Young, head of the Flinders Centre for Cancer Prevention and Control at Adelaide’s Flinders University, showed tat mice fed extra selenium had a 60 per cent reduced incidence of bowel cancer.

A follow-up study of 23 healthy people, aged over 50 who had extra selenium added to their daily milk, indicated a similar protective effect.

Both the human and mice participants had elevated levels of the powerful antioxidant (GPx-2) in their gut, which Professor Young said was linked to their increased selenium intake.

“We think that activated GPx-2 in the bowel is what reduces the chance of getting cancer,” he said.

Professor Young says one such function of selenium is the enhancement of the triggering of ‘apoptosis’, which is a vital process that allows cells to kill themselves if an error is detected.

“When a cell realises that something has gone wrong it can trigger its own death so the cell doesn’t become a problem.

“What the selenium does is just make the cell better at perceiving that it has to kill itself.”

The problem that Professor Young refers to is cancer. A cancerous tumour is a mass of these rogue cells that are no longer performing their ordinary function in the body, and have also lost the ability to kill themselves.

“Selenium has yet another beneficial role,” Professor Young said, “… as it was also thought to reduce damage to DNA-making cells less prone to ‘misbehaving’ in the first place.”

“When we put it all together, selenium looks a potentially useful agent when it comes to reducing our risk of getting a range of different cancers,” he said.

“(But) to get the benefit of protecting you against cancer it seems that you probably have to get close to 150 micrograms,” Professor Young said.

Emed’s Comment:

Selenium has long been known for its powerful antioxidant effects. As one of the most effective naturally occurring weapons against cancer, selenium, similar to most healthy things, is severely lacking in our diet.

The average Australian probably gets around 75 mcg a day of selenium – ideally, we should be getting about 180-230 mcg.

Not only has selenium shown to help reduce bowel cancer, several studies have shown that it may be an effective tool in warding off other types including breast, oesophageal, stomach, prostate, liver and bladder cancers.

First used in conventional medicine as a treatment for dandruff, selenium, especially when used in conjunction with vitamin C, vitamin E and beta-carotene, works to block chemical reactions that create free radicals in the body (which can damage DNA and cause degenerative change in cells, leading to cancer).

To boost the amount of selenium in your diet to prevent a range of cancers and promote good health, you must increase the amount of selenium-rich foods you eat, like:

Food Selenium Content (mcg) Per Food Amount
Brazil nuts 70-90 mcg Per nut
Fish (white flesh) 50 mcg 100 gm
Tinned tuna 65 mcg 100 gm
Organ meats 100 mcg 100 gm
Muscle meats 20 mcg 100 gm
Dairy products 20 mcg 100 gm

To feel good, stay healthy and prevent illness, you must have a healthy diet. What you eat on a daily basis should consist of fresh vegies, fruit, lean meats, fish and some dairy.

Cut out the junk food, fast food and grains (bread, pasta, cereals) and replace with healthy, fresh food.

If you are ready to make the change to your diet, start by reading ‘Why Change your Diet?‘ – this will help you understand what processed, junk and all-round ‘bad’ foods are actually doing to your health.

Want some tips, tricks and great advice? Our article Health Promoting Nutrition shows you what to eat, when to eat it and how to implement your new diet program into your life with ease.

There are many selenium supplements available, and it can often be confusing knowing which one is right for you. Not all natural medicine is made the same, so we’ve made it easy for you.

Bioceuticals Selenium Drops is a great new liquid product that can easily be added to food and drinks. Just a few drops everyday will ensure that optimal selenium levels are maintained.

It’s also good for the kids and can be added to their juice or even water without any troubles. To read more about Selenium Drops, please click here.

Eagle Pharmaceuticals Tresos B Pluse Selenium Eagle Pharmaceuticals Tresos Activated B PluSe  is another great formulation.

This broad-spectrum multi has stood the test of time as a good all-round formula that contains the necessary vitamins, minerals and trace minerals needed for optimal health. Just one a day will help to fill in the gaps in your diet. To read more about Tresos Activated B PluSe, please click here.

What else can I do?

Until they discover a cure for cancer, the best thing we can do to prevent it is to eat well, exercise and stay healthy.

Ensure that you are eating plenty of fresh, healthy food everyday. Exercise daily for at least 20 minutes to stay at optimal weight, prevent disease and encourage good health.

Antioxidants, as discussed, are important for the prevention of free radical damage and disease, however as they are trace minerals, it can be difficult to maintain optimal intake.

Ensure that you have adequate supply of vitamins and minerals in your diet by supplementing with a multivitamin and using an antioxidant supplement.

Take a fish oil. Not only are omega-3’s fish oil powerful anti-inflammatories, they also play a key role in a range of vital body processes, from regulating blood pressure and blood clotting to boosting the immune system and preventing heart disease.

Recent research has shown that fish oils can help to prevent prostate cancer, and it’s only a matter of time before further benefits are revealed.

Further Reading: