selenium

The mineral selenium proves itself as powerful anti-cancer medicine

Wednesday, January 04, 2006 by: Alexis Black
Tags: selenium, nutrition, anti-cancer foods

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One of the most effective naturally occurring weapons against cancer is, like most healthy things, something many of us are not getting enough of. The mineral selenium has been shown in multiple studies to be an effective tool in warding off various types of cancer, including breast, esophageal, stomach, prostate, liver and bladder cancers. Not many people get the recommended dose of 200 micrograms a day. Most Americans only get between 60 and 100 micrograms of selenium daily from dietary sources, according to the Life Extension Foundation's Disease Prevention and Treatment. That means daily supplements might be worth considering.

Selenium was first used in conventional medicine as a treatment for dandruff, but our understanding of the mineral has come a long way since then. Today, research shows 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).

Selenium also helps stop damaged DNA molecules from reproducing. In other words, selenium acts to prevent tumors from developing. "It contributes towards the death of cancerous and pre-cancer cells. Their death appears to occur before they replicate, thus helping stop cancer before it gets started," says Dr. James Howenstine in A Physician's Guide to Natural Health Products That Work.

Selenium makes chemotherapy safer, more effective

In addition to preventing the onset of the disease, selenium has also been shown to aid in slowing cancer's progression in patients that already have it. According to the Life Extension Foundation, the use of selenium during chemotherapy in combination with vitamin A and vitamin E can reduce the toxicity of chemotherapy drugs. The mineral also helps "enhance the effectiveness of chemo, radiation, and hyperthermia while minimizing damage to the patient's normal cells; thus making therapy more of a 'selective toxin,'" says Patrick Quillin in Beating Cancer with Nutrition.

A 1996 study by Dr. Larry Clark of the University of Arizona showed just how effective selenium can be in protecting against cancer. In the study of 1,300 older people, 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.

While the study concluded the mineral helped protect against all types of cancer, it had particularly powerful impacts on prostate, colorectal and lung cancers. Jean Carper, in Miracle Cures, called Dr. Clark's findings an "unprecedented cancer intervention study" that "bumped up the respectability of using supplements against cancer several notches."

Food sources of selenium

Although too much selenium can actually be toxic to the system, research indicates the majority of the population is not getting enough of the essential mineral. So, how can we up our intake of selenium and help our bodies fight cancer? The good news is there are some good dietary sources of selenium: Mushrooms, egg yolks, seafood, poultry and kidney, liver and muscle meats contain the mineral. Vegetables -- garlic, onions, broccoli, asparagus, tomatoes and others -- as well as whole grains and seeds can also be good sources of selenium.

However, because the amount of selenium in vegetables and grains depends on the selenium content in the soil in which they are grown, it can be hard for average consumers to know how much of the mineral they are actually getting in their diets. "The selenium content of food is largely dependent on the content of volcanic ash in the soil on which the food was grown, with higher volcanic ash content yielding higher selenium levels. Soil that is irrigated by seawater, such as much of California's cropland, also contains higher levels of selenium," says Sue Gebo in What's Left to Eat. Gebo adds that, in general, soil in the western United States is richer in selenium than soil in the eastern part of the country.

Accordingly, geography can have a significant impact on diet. In Antioxidants Against Cancer, author Ralph Moss PhD, says one theory for why cancer rates are so high in Linxian, China, dubbed "the 'world capital' of cancer," is that the soil is deficient in the essential minerals selenium and zinc. In Earl Mindell's Supplement Bible, Earl Mindell RPh PhD, suggests part of the reason American men are five times more likely than Japanese men to die from prostate cancer could be because, in general, "the Asian diet contains four times the amount of selenium as the average American diet."

Another reason it seems to be difficult for Americans to get enough selenium is the processing many of our foods go through before they make it onto grocery store shelves. Mindell points out, for example, that processing wheat into white flour strips it of a great deal of its selenium. One way to get more selenium in your diet might be to eat more organically grown foods, which some studies have shown to contain more selenium as well as higher levels of beta carotene and vitamin E. These two work together with selenium in cancer prevention, according to Alternative Medicine author Burton Goldberg.

Perhaps a more surefire way to boost your selenium intake is to add supplements to your diet. Mindell advocates the use of supplements, saying, "To me, taking selenium supplements, in addition to eating selenium-rich foods, is good insurance against disease." However, for those who oppose taking pills, Dr. Andrew Weil in Ask Dr. Weil says eating just one shelled Brazil nut -- grown in the selenium-rich soil of central Brazil -- provides 120 micrograms of the mineral, getting you that much closer to the daily target of 200 micrograms.

Although extremely high doses of selenium can have toxic effects, most people are not at risk for such an overdose, and could, in fact, use more of the mineral. Simply adding more selenium-rich foods, such as organically grown vegetables and fruits to your diet, along with supplements, can help reduce your risk of cancer. And another positive side effect of selenium, according to Eat and Heal, by the Editors of FC&A Medical Publishing, is that it can actually improve your mood. Those editors write, "People who don't eat enough selenium-rich foods tend to be grumpier than people with a high dietary intake, according to recent research." So, go ahead and crack a Brazil nut open and smile.

The experts speak on selenium and cancer

Selenium Mechanisms

There are several possible mechanisms for the protective effect of selenium. Selenium activates an enzyme in the body called gluthathione peroxidase that protects against the formation of free radicals—those loose molecular cannons that can damage DNA. In this situation, selenium may work interchangeably (and in synergy) with vitamin E. In test tube studies, selenium inhibited tumor growth and regulated the natural life span of cells, ensuring that they died when they were supposed to instead of turning "immortal" and hence malignant. Because of this particular action, the University of Arizona researchers say that selenium could be effective within a fairly short time frame.
Ask Dr Weil by Andrew Weil MD, page 207

Numerous studies suggest that an inverse association exists between selenium levels and cancer incidence (Hocman, 1988; Willett and Stampfer, 1986; Milner, 1985). Associations appear to be particularly strong with cancers that are also associated with high-fat, low-fiber diets (i.e., breast, colon, prostrate, etc.). The mechanism for selenium's reported protective effects is likely due to its function in antioxidant synthesis. Glutathione peroxidase, the primary enzyme that converts hydrogen peroxide to water (and thus prevents lipid peroxidation) is selenium-dependent. Inhibition of lipid or bile acid oxidation may account for its protective role (reviewed by Linder 1991:496-7). Selenium may also act as an immune stimulant. Selenium deficiency inhibits macrophage-mediated tumor destruction, and inhibits tumor necrosis factor-alpha production in animals (Kiremidjian-Schumacher et al., 1992). Dietary supplementation with selenium produced the opposite effects.
Cancer And Natural Medicine by John Boik, page 146

The safest antioxidants are vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, and beta-carotene. Together, they block the chemical reactions that create free radicals, which can damage DNA and promote a variety of degenerative changes in cells. Chemotherapy and radiation generate free radicals; that is how they kill dividing cells.
Ask Dr Weil by Andrew Weil MD, page 47

At the Yunnan Tin Corporation in China there is a very high rate of lung cancer among the miners. Forty healthy miners were given selenium supplements for a year. The selenium, which increased in their blood, boosted a key detoxifying enzyme system while simultaneously decreasing dangerous lipid peroxide levels by nearly 75 percent. It also protected against cancer-causing substances and ultraviolet radiation. Doctors at the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences concluded that selenium supplements were a safe and effective food supplement for people.
Cancer Therapy by Ralph W Moss PhD, page 112

Numerous mechanisms have been explored to explain the modulation of carcinogenesis by selenium (Medina 1986, El-Bayoumy 1991). The best characterized function of selenium in mammalian cells is as a component of the seleno- enzyme, glutathione peroxi-dase. This enzyme is localized in the cytosol and mitochondrial matrix, and it eliminates organic peroxides from the cell (Medina 1986). However, available evidence suggests that the prevention of carcinogenesis by selenium is not related to its function in glutathione peroxidase (Medina 1986). Other seleno- proteins have been identified, but their impact on carcinogenesis is not defined (Medina 1986). There is some evidence that selenium may alter the metabolism of carcinogens or the interaction of chemical carcinogens with DNA, but there is considerable controversy in the literature (Medina 1986). Additional mechanistic studies suggest that selenium may alter cell proliferation and/or immunologic responses (Medina 1986, El-Bayoumy 1991). Further research is needed to understand the mechanisms whereby selenium prevents cancer.
Carcinogens Human Diet by National Research Council, page 100

Selenium is needed to produce glutathione peroxidase, an antioxidant enzyme that protects the body from free radical damage. It is also important in preventing cancer and cardiomegaly an enlargement of the heart that causes premature aging and early death.
Complete Encyclopedia Of Natural Healing by Gary Null PhD, page 11

The best known functions of selenium at nutritionally adequate, but not at excessive, levels are its role as a part of the enzyme glutathione peroxidase and its interaction with heavy metals. Glutathione peroxidase destroys hydroperoxides and lipoperoxides, thereby protecting the constituents of the cells against free radical damage. Ip and Sinha (1981) have shown that selenium, through its function in glutathione peroxidase, could well be involved in protecting against cancer induced by high intakes of fat, especially polyunsaturated fatty acids. Glutathione peroxidase activity in human blood increases with increasing selenium intakes, but reaches a plateau at intakes well below those customary in the United States (Thomson and Robinson, 1980). Thus, if the antitumorigenic effect of selenium is mediated through its function in glutathione peroxidase, attempts to increase the enzyme activity by selenium supplementation, superimposed on an adequate diet in the United States, would not be successful. The second function of selenium is to protect against acute and chronic toxicity of certain heavy metals. Although selenium is known to interact with cadmium and mercury, the mechanism of action is not known. Selenium does not cause an increased elimination of the toxic elements, but, rather, an increased accumulation in some nontoxic form (National Academy of Sciences, 1971). It is conceivable that carcinogenic effects of these, and perhaps other heavy metals, could be counteracted by selenium, in a manner similar to its protection against their general toxicity.
Diet Nutrition Cancer by National Research Council, page 168

Selenium's main function in the body is to convert hydrogen peroxide to water, which is important for cellular health. Herbal Medicine Healing Cancer by Donald R Yance Jr, page 193 All of the body's tissues contain selenium, but it is most plentiful in the liver, kidneys, spleen, pancreas, and testes. Selenium works synergistically with vitamin E to protect tissues and cell membranes, aid in the production of antibodies, and help maintain a healthy heart and liver
Prescription For Dietary Wellness by Phyllis A Balch, page 44

Selenium Dosage/Administration

It has been reported that selenium doses of about 250-300 micrograms a day (diet and supplements) would be helpful in preventing cancer. If an average person consumes 125 to 150 micrograms of selenium a day, an additional supplemental amount of 100 micrograms is unlikely to produce any major side effects.
Choices In Healing by Michael Lerner, page 612

Recommendation: Take selenium aspartate in a dose of 100 to 200 micrograms daily..
Doctors Complete Guide Vitamins Minerals by Mary D Eades MD, page 496

Selenium is a mineral with anticancer activity. But the anticancer effects of selenium are greatly reduced when there is an insufficient intake of vitamin E. Rats who receive a normal amount of vitamin E in their diets showed a 45 percent decrease in tumors when they were given selenium. But they only had a 25 percent decrease if their diet was low in vitamin E. In fact, vitamin E was considered more important than selenium in decreasing "oxidant stress" to the fat of the breast.
Cancer Therapy by Ralph W Moss PhD, page 74

In the treatment of cancer the dosage is generally about 10,000 micrograms, still nearly one hundred times the National Academy of Science's recommended dose. Revici's treatment is more complicated than just organic selenium. He only uses selenium in patients whom he deems to be in a "catabolic," as opposed to an "anabolic," state. He has devised a number of urine tests to find whether a patient is in one condition or the other. Selenium is given when the urine has a low specific gravity, a high surface tension and a pH above 6.0. The alkalinity of the urine is supposed to reflect the state of the body's defenses against tumors.
Cancer Therapy by Ralph W Moss PhD, page 112

Selenium levels show a U-shaped correlation with prostate cancer. In other words, both low and high blood levels of selenium increase risk. This simply means that we need enough selenium to maintain good health, yet too much can be dangerous. A practical compromise is to use a supplement that provides 100 I.U. of vitamin E (up to 400 I.U. would be fine), and about 50 micrograms of selenium.
20 Natural Ways To Reduce The Risk Of Prostate Cancer By James Scala PHD, page 60

Unlike selenomethionine, which is incorporated into protein in place of methionine, SMSC is not incorporated into any protein, thereby offering a completely bioavailable compound. In animal studies, SMSC has been shown to be 10 times less toxic than any other known form of selenium. The recommended dose of Se-methylselenocysteine (SMSC) is 200-400 mcg a day for cancer patients.
Disease Prevention And Treatment by Life Extension Foundation, page 316

Selenium Sources

You need just three Brazil nuts to get the 200 micro-grams of selenium that studies have shown to have a potent anti-cancer effect. As a bonus, when you eat Brazil nuts, which grow best in the Amazon rain forest, you support the conservation of one of my favorite places on earth. So you're not only protecting your body, you're saving the environment.
Anti-Aging Prescriptions by James Duke PhD, page 90

The Garlic Connection. It has long been noted that people who ate garlic, onion, broccoli, and whole grains had a reduced risk of cancer. It turns out that all of these foods are rich in selenium, in fact, selenium is one of the reasons that these particular foods are so healthful for us.
Antioxidants Against Cancer by Ralph Moss PhD, page 77

If you're not fond of popping pills, you can get 120 micrograms of selenium in just one Brazil nut. Buy the shelled kind—they're grown in a central region of Brazil where the soil is richest in the mineral. Other good sources are tuna fish, seafood, wheat germ, and bran.
Ask Dr Weil by Andrew Weil MD, page 207

One good food source is Brazil nuts, which happen also to contain at least one other anticancer substance, ellagic acid. One large nut can provide over 50 mcg of selenium. When Cornell scientist Donald J. Lisk and his colleagues ate six Brazil nuts a day for three weeks, their blood levels of selenium rose between 100 and 350 percent.
Cancer Therapy by Ralph W Moss PhD, page 122

Selenium—An essential trace mineral found in fruits and vegetables, selenium helps the body produce functional glutathione peroxidase, an enzyme essential for detoxification. Low dietary levels of selenium have been correlated with a higher incidence of cancer; accordingly, supplementation of this nutrient acts as a deterrent against cancer in general.
Alternative Medicine by Burton Goldberg, page 591

Red clover is also rich in calcium, manganese, and selenium, which is a key cancer-fighting antioxidant. I munch the flower heads, but not everyone likes them. Some people dry the flower heads, turn them into a powder, and add them to soups.
Anti-Aging Prescriptions by James Duke PhD, page 61

The debate continues regarding the active ingredients in garlic, but they may include amino acids (like the branched chain amino acids of leucine and isoleucine), S-allyl cysteine, allicin, and organically-bound selenium…Garlic grown on selenium-rich soil was more effective than selenium supplements at inhibiting carcinogen-induced tumors in animals. A study published in the Journal of the National Medical Association referred to garlic as "..a potent, non-specific biologic response modifier."
Beating Cancer With Nutrition by Patrick Quillin, page 147

A particularly worthy form of selenium is Se-methylselenocysteine, currently available and attracting positive attention. This is the form of selenium found naturally in plants such as broccoli and garlic. A suggested selenium dosage (as a preventive) is 200 mcg a day. The optimal dose for the cancer patient is unknown at this time, but suggestions have ranged from 200-400 mcg a day. Depending upon the selenium content of the soil, foods considered to be good sources of selenium include Brazil nuts, grains, onions, tomatoes, broccoli, chicken, eggs, garlic, liver, seafood, and wheat germ. Americans typically get from 60-100 mcg of selenium a day from dietary sources.
Disease Prevention And Treatment by Life Extension Foundation, page 243

Stephen Cann, associate researcher at the University of British Columbia, gives advice to women who want to fight breast cancer with diet, "Eat different types of seaweed." These include wakame, kombu, and the more common nori — sea vegetables that might fight cancer because of their iodine and selenium. "We think it's very important for the breast," Cann says about iodine. This mineral, he believes, may prevent and even shrink breast tumors by combining with certain fatty acids and stopping cancerous cells from multiplying. And without the selenium, iodine doesn't do its job properly.
Eat and Heal by the Editors of FC&A Medical Publishing, page 317

In parts of Europe, pumpkin seeds are the standard treatment for benign prostate enlargement. The seeds are rich in zinc, selenium and other minerals that have been shown to reduce prostate cancer risk. Typical daily dosage: Eat one-quarter cup of the seeds.
Bottom Line Yearbook 2002 by Bottom Line Personnel, page 76

The intake of selenium and other nutrients from plant foods may be influenced by the type of farming practices used. In a preliminary investigation, organically grown foods were, in some cases, nutritionally superior to conventionally grown foods (Smith, 1993).
Cancer And Natural Medicine by John Boik, page 147

The Journal of Nutrition reported that selenium-enriched broccoli is protective against chemically induced mammary and colon cancer in rats (Davis et al. 2002). Note: While selenium is contributing to the lower incidence of malignancy, the anticancer affects of broccoli should also be factored into the defense.
Disease Prevention And Treatment by Life Extension Foundation, page 242

You can find selenium in grains, shellfish, poultry, garlic, and egg yolks.
Natural Cures And Gentle Medicines by The Editors of FC&A Medical Publishing, page 266

Commercial preparations of selenium include inorganic selenium (sodium se-lenite) and various organic compounds of selenium. It has been reported that sodium selenite is not absorbed adequately, whereas organic selenium, including yeast-selenium, is absorbed very well. For this reason, yeast-selenium is considered best for human consumption
Choices In Healing by Michael Lerner, page 612

Throughout history and around the world, people from Mexico to Russia have given mushrooms magical powers. In reality, there's nothing miraculous about these fungi at all, but they can make you healthier. Although mushrooms are largely made up of water, they are also high in protein, carbohydrates, and fiber. They are a potent source of vitamin D, riboflavin, and niacin, plus minerals like potassium, selenium, and copper.
Eat and Heal by the Editors of FC&A Medical Publishing, page 252

In addition, some foods, such as lima beans, soy beans, and other soy products, seem to have medicinal capabilities because of the presence of isoflavones and phytoestrogens, or plant estrogens. These substances actually curb the activity of the excess estrogen in the body's tissues. Phytoestrogens can also be found in other vegetables and in fruits, along with useful amounts of nonsoluble fiber, beta-carotene, and selenium.
Complete Encyclopedia Of Natural Healing by Gary Null PhD, page 72

A new approach is now being explored: how to enrich our food with antioxidant and protective agents. The simpler approach is to add antioxidant vitamins to basic foods. Studies address the genetic engineering of food to prevent heart disease and cancer [105], and such measures as growing garlic with selenium fertilization [95]. The authors of these studies state that "in view of the impossible task of persuading the public to eat only those foods that are presumably good for their health . . . the time has come to enrich our foods with known cancer preventive agents so that their benefit can be realized fully over the life span of the individual."
Every Persons Guide To Antioxidants by John R Smythies MD, page 103

Plentiful in poultry, selenium may help to protect against cancer, cataracts, heart disease, and macular degeneration. Dark-meat turkey is particularly high in this mineral (3 ounces of cooked turkey have 35mcg of selenium, or 50% of the Daily Value).
Fight Back With Food by Readers Digest, page 73

To get more selenium in your diet, try tuna; a three-ounce can serves up a full 99 micrograms. Or treat yourself to an ounce of baked tortilla chips for a whopping 284 micrograms.
Healing With Vitamins by Alice Feinstein, page 64

Selenium comes from the soil, and fruits and vegetables that come from selenium-rich soil are more likely to contain the mineral.
Natures Medicines by Gale Maleskey, page 363

If you eat a normal diet with plenty of unprocessed foods, you should be fine. You'll find selenium in many grains, nuts, and vegetables; meat, especially organ meats like liver; and seafood.
Natural Cures And Gentle Medicines by The Editors of FC&A Medical Publishing, page 242

A new form of selenium is Se-methylselenocysteine (SeMC), a naturally occurring selenium compound found to be an effective chemopreventive agent. SeMC is a selenoamino acid that is synthesized by plants such as garlic and broccoli.
Disease Prevention And Treatment by Life Extension Foundation, page 277

Essiac formula was given to nurse Rene Caisse more than 80 years ago by a woman whose breast cancer had been healed by this Ojibway Indian herbal preparation. The formula is composed of four herbs (burdock root, slippery elm, sheep sorrel, and Indian rhubarb). The burdock root contains inulin, which improves the function of white blood cells. This root also contains Vitamin A and selenium, which scavenge free radicals and chromium which regulates blood sugar levels.
A Physicians Guide To Natural Health Products That Work By James Howenstine MD, page 156

Selenium Anti-Cancer Effects

Some forms of cancer are the result of free radical oxidation that destroys or damages the part of the DNA that regulates cell multiplication. When that happens, the cells can begin to multiply abnormally, damaging the healthy tissue until your whole body is invaded by these wildly proliferating cells. Since selenium can protect you from free radical oxidation, one way to minimize your risk of developing this type of cancer is to eat selenium-rich foods like whole grains or their products with each meal. If you already have cancer, selenium may be useful in slowing its progression. A way to get it in even more concentrated doses than in foods is to take brewer's yeast or supplements.
Complete Guide Health Nutrition by Gary Null, page 483

Laboratory studies have shown that selenium can inhibit the growth of breast, cervical, colon, and skin cancer.
Antioxidants Against Cancer by Ralph Moss PhD, page 79

Regular intake of yellow and green vegetables, as well as foods containing calcium, selenium and other micro-nutrients, lowers the risk of colon cancer.
Cancer Therapy by Ralph W Moss PhD, page 197

Selenium is protective against many types of cancers, promotes apoptosis, is a powerful antioxidant, and improves quality of life during aggressive cancer therapies According to P.D. Whanger (professor of agricultural chemistry), nearly 200 animal studies have been conducted to evaluate the effects of supernutritional levels of selenium on experimental carcinogenesis using chemical, viral, and transplantable tumor models. Two thirds of the studies found that high levels of selenium reduced the development of tumors at least moderately (14-35% compared to controls) and, in most cases, significantly (by more than 35%) (Whanger 1998).
Disease Prevention And Treatment by Life Extension Foundation, page 242

Selenium has been used in combination with vitamin A and vitamin E to reduce the toxicity of chemotherapy drugs, particularly Adriamycin (Faure et al. 1996; Vanella et al. 1997). The synergistic effect of vitamin E and selenium together to enhance the immune system is greater than either alone. A new form of selenium is Se-methylselenocysteine (SeMC), a naturally occurring selenium compound found to be an effective chemopreventive agent. SeMC is a selenoamino acid that is synthesized by plants such as garlic and broccoli. SeMC has been shown to induce apoptosis in certain ovarian cancer cells (Yeo et al. 2002) and to be effective against breast cancer cell growth both in vivo and in vitro (Sinha et al. 1999). SeMC has also demonstrated significant anticarcinogenic activity against mammary tumorigenesis (Sinha et al. 1997). Moreover, a study has demonstrated that SeMC is one of the most effective selenium chemopreventive compounds, inducing apoptosis in leukemia HL-60 cell lines (Jung et al. 2001a). Some of the most impressive data suggest that exposure to SeMC blocks clonal expansion of premalignant lesions at an early stage. This is achieved by simultaneously modulating certain molecular pathways that are responsible for inhibiting cell proliferation and enhancing apoptosis (Ip et al. 2001). Unlike selenomethionine, which is incorporated into protein in place of methionine, SeMC is not incorporated into any protein, thereby offering a completely bioavailable compound for preventing cancer. Therefore, 200—400 mcg of SeMC a day is suggested for cancer patients. Please note that selenium also possesses antioxidant properties, so its use before, during, or immediately after chemotherapy could theoretically inhibit the actions of certain chemotherapy drugs.
Disease Prevention And Treatment by Life Extension Foundation, page 277

Scientists have confirmed that vitamins C and E along with the mineral selenium afford some prostate cancer prevention. This is not surprising to anyone who understands diet, biochemistry, and how antioxidants work. Glutathione peroxidase destroys free radicals and superoxides. Its name means that it destroys peroxides (the potent oxidants that form in tissues) and uses glutathione as a helper. Glutathione requires selenium to function; and wherever selenium is at work, vitamin E can't be far away because they function together.
20 Natural Ways To Reduce The Risk Of Prostate Cancer By James Scala PHD, page 54

For prostate cancer management, stay on a low fat diet, eat tomato products often, take a multivitamin, vitamins C, E and selenium.
A Physicians Guide To Natural Health Products That Work By James Howenstine MD, page 151

Men with higher intakes of antioxi-dants such as vitamin C, vitamin E, and the trace mineral selenium have lower levels of prostate cancer.
Alternative Cures by Bill Gottlieb, page 519

Selenium Statistics

In a December 1996 article in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Dr. Larry Clark presented evidence that supplemental selenium could reduce cancer death rates by as much as 50%. 1,312 patients were given 200 mcg. of selenium daily. The patients receiving selenium had a rise of 67% in their blood selenium level.
A Physicians Guide To Natural Health Products That Work By James Howenstine MD, page 148

The patients receiving selenium had a 67% decrease in cancer of the prostate, a 58 percent decrease in colon or rectal cancer and a 45% decrease in lung cancer. This suggests that possibly up to 100,000 lives a year might be saved in the USA by the simple addition of selenium to the diet.
A Physicians Guide To Natural Health Products That Work By James Howenstine MD, page 149

An article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) by Clark et al. (1996) showed that 200 mcg of supplemental selenium a day reduced overall cancer mortality by 50% in humans compared to a placebo group not receiving supplemental selenium. This 9-year study demonstrated that a low-cost mineral supplement could cut the risk of dying from cancer in half in certain individuals.
Disease Prevention And Treatment by Life Extension Foundation, page 1255

In a recent five-year study of nearly 30,000 rural Chinese people, researchers from the NCI found that daily doses of these three nutrients reduced cancer deaths by 13%.
Alternative Medicine by Burton Goldberg, page 590

But what if you already have cancer? Again, the research shows a prolongation of lifespan with proper supplementation. In a study in Cancer Letters (Evangelou et al. 1997), animals with malignant tumors given high doses of vitamins C and E and selenium manifested a significant prolongation of the mean survival time. Complete remission of tumors developed in 16.8% of the animals.
Disease Prevention And Treatment by Life Extension Foundation, page 1256

Dr. Raymond Shamberger was also among the first to discover the link between low selenium content in the soil and increasing numbers of deaths from cancer. In 1976, he pointed out that the cities and states with high selenium content in the soil also had significantly lower rates of cancer, especially of the digestive and urinary systems.
Antioxidants Against Cancer by Ralph Moss PhD, page 77

A Powerful Antioxidant "selenium is a crucial mineral in the battle against prostate cancer," says Dr. Schachter. In one study of hundreds of men, a daily intake of 200 micrograms of selenium cut the incidence of prostate cancer by 60 percent.
Alternative Cures by Bill Gottlieb, page 518

The statistics for breast cancer are particularly striking. "The higher the selenium, the lower the breast cancer," said Prof. Ladas. Similar associations have been found with leukemia, as well as cancers of the intestines, rectum, ovary, prostate, lung, pancreas, skin and bladder. In Yugoslavia, scientists studied 33 patients with breast cancer. These women had selenium levels in their bloodstream only half those of healthy volunteers.
Cancer Therapy by Ralph W Moss PhD, page 112

Although the study failed to show the effectiveness of selenium in altering the course of either basal or squamous cell carcinoma, selenium impacted the incidence of other types of malignancies with amazing success (Clark et al. 1996). The overall reduction in cancer incidence was 37% in the selenium-supplemented group; a 50% reduction in cancer mortality was observed over a 10-year period. The following are the site-specific reductions in cancer incidence observed in the study: colon-rectal cancers (58%), lung cancer (46%), and prostate cancer (63%). A selenium deficiency appears to increase the risk of prostate cancer fourfold to fivefold. It was determined that, as the male population ages, selenium levels decrease, paralleling an increase in prostate cancer (Brooks et al. 2001).
Disease Prevention And Treatment by Life Extension Foundation, page 242

In a study published in the journal of the National Cancer Institute, the relationship between serum levels of selenium and the development of upper digestive tract cancer was explored (Mark et al, 2000). The relative risk of esophageal cancer was 0.56 in individuals in the highest quartile of selenium level compared with those in the lowest quartile. The corresponding relative risk of gastric cardia cancer was 0.47. Based on the data, the researchers calculate that 26.4% of esophageal and gastric cardia cancers are attributable to low selenium levels.
Disease Prevention And Treatment by Life Extension Foundation, page 242

Selenium Recommendations

The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) is 50 to 100 micrograms (not milligrams) but few people get even that much. Selenium is so important that I believe that practically every adult should take a 200 microgram selenium supplement every day. This is readily available in health food stores at a minimal price. Organic selenium derived from yeast may be better absorbed man the mineral form, sodium selenite. Very high doses of either can be toxic, however, and should only be taken under a doctor's prescription. To summarize: selenium has a strong ability to prevent cancers, especially of the internal organs. There is no evidence that selenium interferes with chemotherapy, radiation or a combination of both. On the contrary, there is evidence that it decreases the side effects of such treatments
Antioxidants Against Cancer by Ralph Moss PhD, page 81

The supplements that I'd recommend for cancer prevention are the antioxidants: vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, and the mineral selenium.
Anti-Aging Prescriptions by James Duke PhD, page 90

Moderate doses of zinc, beta-carotene, selenium and vitamin E are safe and inexpensive. I believe these results are valid and are an accurate reflection of what antioxidants can do. The finding that two terrible cancers could be prevented by a few pennies worth of supplements received little attention in the mainstream media.
Antioxidants Against Cancer by Ralph Moss PhD, page 83

The National Academy of Sciences advises that no more than 150 micrograms of selenium be taken orally daily. But Revici's "bivalent negative selenium"— a combination of the mineral with various organic substances, such as the fatty acids of sesame oil—is said to be so non-toxic that huge amounts, up to one million micrograms, have been injected (in the treatment of drug addiction), apparently without any ill effects. In the treatment of cancer the dosage is generally about 10,000 micrograms, still nearly one hundred times the National Academy of Science's recommended dose.
Cancer Therapy by Ralph W Moss PhD, page 112

But in the meantime, I will continue to take my 200 micrograms of selenium a day—the same dose used in the study—and I suggest that you do, too. Excess selenium has been associated with toxicity, so don't go overboard. If you're not fond of popping pills, you can get 120 micrograms of selenium in just one Brazil nut. Buy the shelled kind—they're grown in a central region of Brazil where the soil is richest in the mineral. Other good sources are tuna fish, seafood, wheat germ, and bran.
Ask Dr Weil by Andrew Weil MD, page 207

While everyone needs selenium on an everyday basis, there are certain situations in which the human need for selenium may be increased, or in which additional selenium may be helpful in the treatment of a disease. If you are a male, your selenium needs are greater than if you are female. If you suffer from heart disease or muscular disorders, additional selenium may help you. The same can be said if you suffer from cataracts, diabetes, cystic fibrosis, liver necrosis, iron deficiency anemia, joint problems, heavy metal poisoning, or cancer.
Complete Guide Health Nutrition by Gary Null, page 479

Now, Dr. Mark A. Nelson, a professor and researcher at the Arizona Cancer Center, says, "The Nutritional Prevention of Cancer (NPC) Trial tripled the intake and suggests that higher levels of selenium may be necessary for cancer prevention." Until nutritionists conduct more research, though, no one can recommend the best, safest amount you should get. Experts warn selenium is a toxic mineral, which means too much of it, especially from supplements, is unsafe.
Eat and Heal by the Editors of FC&A Medical Publishing, page 98

Doctors at the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences concluded that selenium supplements were a safe and effective food supplement for people. There have also been a number of reports of selenium's toxicity or even its alleged ability to cause cancer. There is no question that excess selenium in the soil (in the form of its compounds, selenite or selenate) can kill grazing animals and could probably in sufficiently large doses kill humans as well. The symptoms of selenium poisoning are readily apparent without a doctor's assistance, according to Dr. Gerhard Schrauzer, a world expert on the topic. These symptoms include a heavy garlic odor, pallor, nervousness, depression, a metallic taste, skin eruptions, irritability, discolored teeth and hair loss. There is some doubt about the carcinogenicity studies. For instance, one study showed toxic effects for inorganic, but not organic, forms of the mineral.
Cancer Therapy by Ralph W Moss PhD, page 112

General / History of Selenium

Selenium (Se) is a metal that is chemically similar to sulfur. It was first discovered in 1817 and because of its silvery color was named for Selene, the ancient goddess of the moon. Selenium is an essential component of two important antioxidant enzymes and is also the helpmate of vitamin E.
Antioxidants Against Cancer by Ralph Moss PhD, page 76

Initially, selenium's importance in human health was underrated. In fact, its main use in conventional medicine was as a treatment for dandruff!
Antioxidants Against Cancer by Ralph Moss PhD, page 76

Strange as it may seem, toenail levels of selenium are considered a good indicator of long-term selenium intake. They found that the people whose toenails had the highest levels of selenium had half of the rate of lung cancer compared with those whose toe-nails were low in selenium.
Healing With Vitamins by Alice Feinstein, page 143

Emmanuel Revici, MD based his treatment on correcting an imbalance between fatty acids and sterols in the cancer patient; called "biological dualism". Revici was considered a very dedicated physician and developer of selenium as an anti-cancer agent. -Ewan Cameron, MD, a Scottish surgeon first popularized the use of high dose vitamin C in terminal cancer patients.
Beating Cancer With Nutrition by Patrick Quillin, page 45

Some scientists still do not accept the need for selenium supplements and argue against its protective effect against cancer and other diseases. Others endorse the value of moderate amounts of selenium added to the diet. In the laboratory, selenium has shown a wide range of anticancer effects.
Cancer Therapy by Ralph W Moss PhD, page 109

Aside from Revici's work, little has been done to investigate the use of this mineral as a cancer treatment. In 1911, Prof. August von Wasserrman achieved growth inhibition, shrinkage and eventually the disappearance of tumors by injecting selenium directly into mouse tumors. Four years later, two doctors caused the shrinkage and the eventual disappearance of small tumors in cancer patients, although larger tumors failed to respond.
Cancer Therapy by Ralph W Moss PhD, page 112

After critically examining this book, I came to the conclusion that Dr. Revici is an innovative medical genius, outstanding chemist and a highly creative thinker [emphasis added]. I also realized that few of his medical colleagues would be able to follow his train of thought and thus would be all too willing to dismiss his work. Because of my own professional interest in selenium, let me merely focus on this aspect of his work. Selenium containing medications were introduced into cancer therapy as early as 1911 by none less than the great physician August von Wasserman. Working with experimental animals, von Wasserman was able to show his selenium compounds produced liquefactive necrosis of solid tumors, an unheard of event at the time, hailed as a major success. However, von Wasserman's compounds were too toxic and thus could not be employed in the treatment of human cancer. Dr. Revici deserves credit for having discovered pharmacologically active selenium compounds of very low toxicity. The same was achieved years later by one other great physician, Dr. Klaus Schwarz, in collaboration with a leading organic chemist, Dr. Arne Fredga, of Uppsala University. The National Cancer Institute has recognized the importance of selenium only within the past few years. Would one thus not have to conclude that Dr. Revici, in this one instance, was 40 years ahead of his time? The same could be said for many of his other researches which form the basis of his therapy.
Choices In Healing by Michael Lerner, page 614

Dr. Gerbhard Schauzer, a biochemist at the University of California in San Diego, … believes that if every woman in America began taking selenium supplements today or followed a diet high in selenium, the breast cancer rate in this country would decline drastically in a few years.
Miracle Medicine Herbs by Richard M Lucas, page 16

Asia has considerable quantities of selenium in its soil, making the Asian diet rich in the mineral; not surprisingly, cancer and heart disease occur considerably less often in Asian cultures than in the West.
Optimum Health by Stephen T Sinatra MD, page 123

Additional Benefits of Selenium

Antioxidants, like beta carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, and selenium appear to enhance the effectiveness of chemo, radiation, and hyperthermia while minimizing damage to the patient's normal cells; thus making therapy more of a "selective toxin." An optimally nourished cancer patient can better tolerate the rigors of cytotoxic therapy.
Beating Cancer With Nutrition by Patrick Quillin, page 18

Patients with advanced rectal cancer were treated with a combination of selenium, the drug 5-FU, and radiation. Scientists reported a protective effect of selenium on quality of life.
Antioxidants Against Cancer by Ralph Moss PhD, page 80

Selenium-deficient animals have more heart damage from the chemo drug, adriamycin.43 Supplements of selenium and vitamin E in humans did not reduce the efficacy of the chemo drugs against ovarian and cervical cancer. Animals with implanted tumors who were then treated with selenium and cisplatin (chemo drug) had reduced toxicity to the drug with no change in anti-cancer activity. Selenium supplements helped repair DNA damage from a carcinogen in animals. Selenium was selectively toxic to human leukemia cells in culture.
Beating Cancer With Nutrition by Patrick Quillin, page 56

While most nutritionists agree on the importance of growth (proliferative) nutrients, few nutritionists respect the importance for anti-proliferative nutrients. For every force in the body, there must be an opposing force to regulate that mechanism. There are agents that cause fluid loss from the kidneys (diuresis) and other agents that stem this fluid loss when it is excessive (anti-diuretic hormone). Just as there is a need for nutrients to augment growth, there is a need for nutrients to control excessive growth and shut down the process. Selenium, fish oil, garlic, Cat's claw, Maitake D-fraction, vitamin E succinate, vitamin K, quercetin, genistein, and bovine cartilage all may assist the cancer patient in this manner.
Beating Cancer With Nutrition by Patrick Quillin, page 80

Vitamin E and selenium supplements in animals helped to reduce the heart toxicity from adriamycin. Selenium and vitamin E supplements were given to 41 women undergoing cytotoxic therapy for ovarian and cervical cancers, with a resulting drop in the toxicity-related rise in creatine kinase.
Beating Cancer With Nutrition by Patrick Quillin, page 107

One of the foremost selenium investigators, Gerhard Schrauzer of the University of California at San Diego, says: Apart from its functions as an essential micronutrient, selenium also appears to have other physiological functions in which it acts as a physiological resistance factor [emphasis added]. Its cancer protecting effects fall into this category. In addition, selenium protects against free radicals, mutagens, toxic heavy metals and certain bacterial, fungal and viral pathogens. The selenium requirement increases under stress, just as the requirement for certain vitamins increases during infections. Selenium, according to Schrauzer, is most effective as a form of nutritional cancer prophylaxis. In animal research, its protective effect is greater the earlier in life it is given, and its shielding effect against virally induced cancer disappears if the nutrient is no longer fed to the animal. Nevertheless, selenium does have an effect on slowing the rate of growth of established spontaneous or transplanted breast tumors in animals, and in reversing the development of some malignant cell lines when used at pharmacological levels. Further, selenium has shown a general capacity to stimulate the immune system in several animal models, which may add to its anticancer effects. It is of special relevance to cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy that selenium "has by now been shown to prevent or retard tumorigenesis induced by virtually all the major known carcinogens," probably, Schrauzer believes, "by modulating the rate of cell division."
Choices In Healing by Michael Lerner, page 612

Just as selenium protects you against toxic metal poisoning, it can also protect you against radiation, whether you are exposed to it through the environment or more directly through medical treatments. A particularly effective form of selenium for this purpose is selenoaminoacid compounds (selenium plus amino acids). Selenium also protects you against compounds called epoxides, as it breaks them down. What are epoxides? Formed when an enzyme named aryl hydrocarbon hydroxylase binds with a carcinogenic substance, epoxides could be called the immediate cause of cancer. The carcinogens cause your body to produce them, and then cancer may ensue.
Complete Guide Health Nutrition by Gary Null, page 483

Reports from Germany indicate that selenium supplementation in patients undergoing radiation therapy for rectal cancer improved quality of life and reduced the appearance of secondary cancers (Hehr et al. 1997) It appears that selenium acts as an immunologic response modifier, normalizing every component of the immune system (Life Extension Report 1995).
Disease Prevention And Treatment by Life Extension Foundation, page 243

Macrophages—those garbagemen of the bloodstream—are capable of keeping your body clear of tumor cells. Also, since they produce interferon, they can help eliminate the viruses that cause some forms of cancer. But to do their job properly, they need adequate selenium.
Complete Guide Health Nutrition by Gary Null, page 483

Some of the known natural compounds that can reduce insulin resistance include omega-3 fatty acids, curcumin, flavonoids, selenium, and vitamin E. Dietary risk factors must be managed. Therefore, besides restricting dietary sugars, individuals should eat an adequate amount of fruits and vegetables because phytochemicals in fruits and vegetables act as potent anticancer agents.
Disease Prevention And Treatment by Life Extension Foundation, page 598

Selenium can prevent solar damage, pigmentation and dark spots, but because the selenium content of soil varies across the country, not everyone is getting enough to be beneficial," says Dr. Burke, citing the Southeast in particular as an area deficient in selenium. To quench the free radicals caused by sun exposure and to prevent skin damage, Dr. Burke recommends daily supplements of 50 to 200 micrograms of selenium in the form of 1-selenomethionine, depending on where you live and your family history of cancer. Selenium can be toxic in doses exceeding 100 micrograms, so if you'd like to try this therapy to protect your skin, you should discuss it with your doctor.
Healing With Vitamins by Alice Feinstein, page 64

The importance of selenium to cardiovascular health was demonstrated in the provinces of China where the mineral was deficient. This correlation can be seen throughout the world. Ray Shamberger, M.D., and Charles Willis, M.D., of the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, reported in 1976 that people who live in low-selenium areas have three times more heart disease than those living in areas where the soil and water are rich in the mineral.
Saturated Fat May Save Your Life by Bruce Fife ND, page 142

Selenium also appears to help stimulate antibody formation in response to vaccines. This immunostimulating effect is also enhanced by vitamin E; the presence of these two nutrients can increase antibody formation by 20-30 times, as shown by research.
Staying Healthy With Nutrition by Elson M Haas MD, page 213

Selenium may also aid in protein synthesis, growth and development, and fertility, especially in the male. It has been shown to improve sperm production and motility. Thus, selenium may prevent male infertility; however, we do not know whether selenium deficiency will actually cause male infertility. These are only some of the conjectures about other selenium functions.
Staying Healthy With Nutrition by Elson M Haas MD, page 213

Selenium Interactions

Certain metals such as lead, cadmium, arsenic, mercury and silver block the action of selenium. . . . Recent laboratory experiments have shown that high doses of zinc block the action of selenium. Therefore, one has to be careful about taking excessive amounts of zinc (over 20 milligrams per day from diet and supplements) while taking selenium [emphasis added].
Choices In Healing by Michael Lerner, page 619

I think the selenium and saffron complement one another. Selensaff, a product made by Scientific Botanicals (see Resources), is used in cancer therapy to create a redox effect—a process of improving cell function by enhancing both oxygen uptake and the excretion of oxygen waste.
Herbal Medicine Healing Cancer by Donald R Yance Jr, page 148 Zinc is important because it is an antagonist to selenium and may in itself enhance or inhibit different tumors. Selenium in minute quantities is essential to human health. According to Prasad, among the minerals, "only selenium has been shown to have a role in cancer prevention":
Choices In Healing by Michael Lerner, page 619

Vitamin E and selenium protected animals against the potent carcinogenic effects of DMBA from tobacco.
Beating Cancer With Nutrition by Patrick Quillin, page 164

Selenium acts as an antioxidant and strengthens the body's immune defense system. Thus, many of the effects which are produced by vitamin E deficiency can be reversed or prevented by selenium. Some laboratory experiments have suggested that the combination of vitamin E and selenium is more effective in preventing cancer than either of them alone.
Choices In Healing by Michael Lerner, page 619

However, one experiment has demonstrated increased susceptibility to DMBA-induced tumors when selenium deficiency was aggravated by high dietary levels of polyunsatu-rated fatty acids, and protection by a physiological supplement of selenium (0.1 pg/g) to the diet (Ip and Sinha, 1981). The interpretation of these results is further complicated because of the varied protocols used in these experiments and the knowledge that selenium interacts with many other nutrients, such as heavy metals in the diet.
Diet Nutrition Cancer by National Research Council, page 169

In some experiments, dietary zinc exceeding nutritional requirements has been shown to suppress chemically induced tumors in rats and hamsters, but when given in drinking water it counteracts the protective effect of selenium in mice...While the evidence on the effect of zinc on tumor development is complex, it strongly suggests that, in general, one should be cautious about taking zinc supplements if one has cancer. And since selenium has a wide spectrum of demonstrable anticancer effects, cancer patients should be particularly cautious with zinc, since it is a selenium antagonist. I have seen many cancer patients taking moderately large amounts of zinc as part of a comprehensive megavitamin nutritional supplement program. In view of the available scientific evidence, this is another critical example of an area where uninformed nutritional supplementation may do harm.
Choices In Healing by Michael Lerner, page 612

In addition, statistically significant protection from high levels of selenium and alpha-tocopherol occurred only when gamma- tocopherol concentrations were also high (Helzl-sourer et al. 2000).
Disease Prevention And Treatment by Life Extension Foundation, page 258

Selenium and co-enzyme Q-10. Exhibits anticancer activity especially in blocking development of colon cancer and spread of breast cancer.
Food Your Miracle Medicine by Jean Carper, page 481

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