By Maureen Williams, ND
What can men do to prevent prostate cancer, the most common type of cancer in men in the US, UK, and Europe? Be sure to get enough selenium, a new review says, after finding that men with high (but not excessively high) selenium levels have a lower risk of prostate cancer.
Pulling together the research
The review, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, used data from 12 studies with a combined total of more than 13,000 participants. The studies looked at the relationships between prostate cancer risk and blood selenium levels, selenium content of toenail clippings, and selenium intake.
The reviewers combined the data and analyzed it to identify whether a relationship existed. They looked at:
Selenium’s complicated considerations
Although some of the studies did not show this tapering off of protection from selenium, the reviewers speculated that selenium levels and intakes in these studies may not have been high enough to show the possible detrimental effects of having too much.
Get your selenium—but not too much
Selenium is a mineral micronutrient and a powerful antioxidant. Scientists believe it plays a role in cancer prevention and some studies have found that it protects against colon and lung cancers, as well as prostate cancer. It also keeps the immune system strong and appears to protect the heart and blood vessels.
Here are some ways to ensure that you get enough selenium every day:
(Am J Clin Nutr 2012; doi: 10.3945/ajcn.111.033373)
Maureen Williams, ND, completed her doctorate in naturopathic medicine at Bastyr University in Seattle and has been in private practice since 1995. With an abiding commitment to access to care, she has worked in free clinics in the US and Canada, and in rural clinics in Guatemala and Honduras where she has studied traditional herbal medicine. She currently lives and practices in Victoria, BC, and lectures and writes extensively for both professional and community audiences on topics including family nutrition, menopause, anxiety and depression, heart disease, cancer, and easing stress. Dr. Williams is a regular contributor to Healthnotes Newswire.
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