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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Selenium - What Is It?

Selenium?  What on EARTH is Selenium and why am I bringing it up here?  Why?  Because it's a mineral you haven't heard about.  Nor, have you heard about the benefits of it.

So what is selenium?  Simplified, it is an essential mineral in everyone's diet and found in such foods as nuts, cereals, and fish like lobster and crab.

OK, big deal.  So what does it do for me.  Ah, that's the big question.  And the answer is something you probably have never heard of.  Cancer prevention.

A study done in 1997 by Cornell University looked at the effects of selenium on men and women.  And they found a 41% reduction in the occurrence of cancer when compared to a placebo.  

According to the governments Office of Dietary Supplements "Taking a daily supplement containing 200 μg of selenium did not affect recurrence of skin cancer, but significantly reduced the occurrence and death from total cancers. The incidence of prostate cancer, colorectal cancer, and lung cancer was notably lower in the group given selenium supplements.

Research suggests that selenium affects cancer risk in two ways. As an anti-oxidant, selenium can help protect the body from damaging effects of free radicals. Selenium may also prevent or slow tumor growth. Certain breakdown products of selenium are believed to prevent tumor growth by enhancing immune cell activity and suppressing development of blood vessels to the tumor."

Selenium in high quantities can be toxic, but according to the studies, modest supplementation shows a benefit in the prevention of cancer.  There have also been positive results in the areas of arthritis and HIV.  Suffice to say, selenium bears a closer look in the daily supplementation needs of individuals.

As always, I recommend passing on this info to your physician if you are considering a selenium supplement.  And I always recommend taking a pharmaceutical grade supplement to ensure you are getting the proper amounts in a safe dosage.

To Your Health.

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