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Treating Cancer with Selenium

Updated on April 3, 2015

Structure of Trigonal Selenium

 "Structural studies of glassy and crystalline selenium-sulphur compounds"
"Structural studies of glassy and crystalline selenium-sulphur compounds"

30 Hubs in 30 Days

Im taking part in the March 2010 Helpful Health Hubs Contest of 30 Hubs in 30 Days. Visit my other Hubs and help with the celebration of Health & Wellness Month.
Im taking part in the March 2010 Helpful Health Hubs Contest of 30 Hubs in 30 Days. Visit my other Hubs and help with the celebration of Health & Wellness Month.

Studies on Selenium

A study at the University of Arizona by Dr. Larry Clark in 1996 showed the effects of taking selenium can protect against cancer. 1,300 senior citizens took part in this study. The occurrence of cancer among those who took 200 micrograms of selenium daily for about seven years was reduced by 42 percent compared to those given a placebo. Cancer deaths for those taking the selenium were cut almost in half, according to the study that was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. This study also showed that selenium protected against all types of cancer, but showed more promise with prostate, colorectal and lung cancer.

Life Extension Foundation, a non-profit research-based organization headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida found the use of selenium during chemotherapy in combination with vitamin A and vitamin E can reduce the toxicity of chemotherapy drugs. Research has shown that it also enhance the effectiveness of chemo, radiation, and hyperthermia while minimizing damage to the patient's normal cells.

Additional research shows selenium, when used with vitamins C, E and beta-carotene, works to block chemical reactions that create free radicals in the body. Free radicals can damage DNA and cause degenerative change in cells, leading to cancer.

It is estimated that most Americans only get between 60 and 100 micrograms of selenium daily from dietary sources. The recommended dose of the mineral selenium is 200 micrograms a day.

Natural dietary food sources of selenium includes: Mushrooms, egg yolks, seafood, poultry and kidney, liver and muscle meats. Selenium in vegetables includes: Garlic, onions, broccoli, asparagus, and tomatoes. Others food sources are: Whole grains and seeds.

Even with eating the proper dietary food sources of selenium it is almost impossible to get the full daily amount without supplements. This is because it depends on the richness of the soil in which vegetables, grains and seed grow in relation to the selenium content in the food. It can be hard for average consumers to know how much of the mineral they are actually getting in their diets.

Then there are processed foods from the grocery store. This commercial process can strip the food from many of its vitamins and minerals.

How selenium works is that it activates an enzyme in the body called gluthathione peroxidase that protects against the formation of free radicals. Free radicals can damage DNA.

Selenium, in test tube studies, along with vitamin E showed it inhibited tumor growth and regulated the natural life span of cells, ensuring that they died when they were supposed to instead of turning malignant. The University of Arizona researchers say that selenium could be effective within a fairly short time frame.

This does not mean to stop taking treatment or medication that your physician prescribed. But studies have shown promise with selenium in treating cancer.

Do vitamin E and Selenium Prevent Prostate Cancer


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    • Sandyspider profile imageAUTHOR

      Sandy Mertens 

      3 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

      Nadine May Thanks for the vote up and thanks for the visit.

    • Nadine May profile image

      Nadine May 

      3 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      Great article and i learned something new. I now will search for selenuim in our health stores. Voted up

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 

      6 years ago from California

      This is such an interesting hub Sandy~ well done!

    • joecseko profile image

      Joe Cseko jr 

      8 years ago from New York, USA, Earth

      The correct spelling of glutathione, combined with the VERY real risk of toxicity from selenium supplementation would have been a plus. That, and the observation that superoxide dismutase is a much more powerful free radical scavenger. Also of note, this study was done in 1996. There is much more recent activity on the subject.

    • pinkboxer profile image


      8 years ago from Louisiana

      Excellent hub on selenium. I am a fan!

    • adrienne2 profile image

      Adrienne F Manson 

      8 years ago from Atlanta

      This is some very good information here in your article. I am familiar with Selenium being good for several ailments, didnt know about the prostate cancer and selenium. Great job and presentation.

    • hypnodude profile image


      8 years ago from Italy

      I've heard that Selenium can help against cancer. There are a lot of good information here, and pretty well explained. Rated up. :)

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 

      8 years ago from Washington

      That is really, really interesting - I didn't know it was good for prostate cancer, too! Super info.

    • nancy_30 profile image


      8 years ago from Georgia

      Thank you for this information. I don't think I've heard of selenium before. I'm glad it can help protect against cancer.

    • itakins profile image


      8 years ago from Irl

      Great hub-on my shopping list:)

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      I heard about this and went out and purchased some selenium! Great info!

    • entertianmentplus profile image


      8 years ago from United States

      Well done good info thanks for sharing.

    • alexandriaruthk profile image


      8 years ago from US

      hi Sandy, thank you for the information! it is one of the antioxidnats so it make sense,

    • prettydarkhorse profile image


      8 years ago from US

      it is nice to know that selenium treats cancer as well Sandy, thats good news! thank you, Maita

    • anglnwu profile image


      8 years ago

      Good information on Selenium. I just did one hub on how selenium can also fight wrinkles, in addition to being an exceptional antioxidant. Selenium is such a health heavy-weight. Interesting hub and thank you.

    • Coolmon2009 profile image


      8 years ago from Texas, USA

      Good and useful information :)

    • Darlene Sabella profile image

      Darlene Sabella 

      8 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

      Very powerful and wise hub, I enjoyed reading and learning about selenium this is new to me. Thank you and good luck on your challange.

    • katiem2 profile image


      8 years ago from I'm outta here

      Very Powerful and Informative Hub! Thanks and Peace :)


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