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Selenium benefits for prostate health

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The prostate is a gland in the male reproductive system and it is not uncommon for the gland to become enlarged as men age. Although many prostate ailments are not life threatening, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK. It often progresses very slowly and can cause no obvious symptoms. The Department of Health advises all men over the age of 65 to have regular tests to monitor the health of their prostate.

Selenium benefits for the prostate


New findings suggest that high levels of selenium may help to lower the risk of prostate cancer. The meta-analysis focused on 12 trials that examined the relationship between blood selenium levels and the risk of prostate cancer. In total, these trials included over 13,000 participants. The findings, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, showed that:


  • Men with higher blood levels of selenium had a lower risk of being diagnosed with prostate cancer and a lower risk of developing advanced prostate cancer.
  • Men who consumed more selenium through their diet also had a lower risk of developing cancer. However, the findings from one trial suggested that selenium was beneficial up to a point, but at very high strengths it lost its effectiveness.

Researchers concluded that selenium appeared to be linked to a reduced risk of prostate cancer. However, they also noted that at very high strengths, this benefit seemed to taper off. They commented “We showed in our dose-response meta-analysis that a decreased risk of prostate cancer appears to be associated with a relatively narrow range of selenium status.”

A separate review analysed data from nearly 60,000 men aged 55 to 69. The data, taken over a 17 year period, showed that men with the highest selenium levels reduced their risk of advanced prostate cancer by 60%.

Popular sources of selenium


  • Nuts, particularly Brazil nuts, are rich in selenium
  • Seafood such as scallops, shrimp and sardines are good sources of selenium



R. Hurst, et al. (2012) ‘Selenium and prostate cancer: systematic review and meta-analysis.’ American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, July 2012, vol. 96 no. 1 111-122

M. S. Geybels, et al. (2013) ‘Advanced Prostate Cancer Risk in Relation to Toenail Selenium Levels.’ JNCI J Natl Cancer Inst, 2013, 105 (18): 1394-1401.doi: 10.1093/jnci/djt186