Can Selenium Protect You from Cancer ?


Article adapted from  Dr Mercola

Dr. Donald W. Miller, a cardiac surgeon and Professor of Surgery at the University of Washington in Seattle, shares impressive research findings on the cancer-fighting properties of selenium.

As scientists have now determined, cells of all organisms, whether bacterial, animal, or non-animal, need selenium for proper functioning.

Selenium deficiency has been linked to a wide variety of disorders and diseases, including:

  • Hypothyroidism
  • Cognitive decline
  • Cancer (including lung, prostate, colorectal, skin)
  • Heart failure
  • Coronary artery disease (atherosclerosis)

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA), as set by the U.S. Food and Nutrition Board, is 55 mcg of selenium per day, based on two studies that show this amount of selenium supports the optimal generation of glutathione peroxidase. This is believed to be adequate for 98 percent of the population.

However, this government recommendation did not take into account a previous finding that shows a dose four times higher (200 mcg) to have an anti-cancer effect, without being toxic.

  • Increased antioxidant protection and immune system
  • Regulation of cell proliferation and apoptosis (programmed cell death)
  • Suppression of growth of blood vessels supplying nutrients to the cancer
  • Inhibition of tumor cell invasion

The first indications of selenium toxicity are “garlic breath” and dry skin. As the toxicity increases, your fingernails develop white patches, become brittle, and fall off. Hair and nail loss occurs once selenium intake reaches 4,990 mcg per day, according to one study. August 27, 2007

Frank’s comment:

Considering this nutrient/mineral was only available in Australia upon prescription not so long ago, it is quite amazing to see how liberally it is available these days.

Selenium was considered a highly toxic element – “Oh no, you can’t take in more than 25 mcg (micrograms = 1/1000 of a milligram) per day…..”

Still – to date the warnings keep appearing on labels of many scientifically formulated supplements: “Selenium from dietary supplements may be toxic if ingested in excess of 100 mcg” ….. or similar warnings.

Consider this: the average Brazil nut (kernel) contains 95.8 mcg of selenium. Does that mean you poison yourself if you eat more than 1 (one) Brazil nut per day? Gee, there must be a lot of people in Brazil suffering from selenium poisoning!

For a full nutrient analysis of Brazil nuts click  this link and search for “brazil” , then follow the prompts.

Bottom line: enjoy your Brazil nuts, but buy them still in their shells and crack them yourself. This way you are assured that you are eating “the real thing” – without the influence of the plastic wrapping they are sold in when sold shelled.

When it comes to the subject of cancer then selenium is an absolute “must-eat” nutrient. I will post more information about the influence of selenium on cancer in future newsletters – – stay tuned.

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