Can The Powerful Antioxidant Selenium Prevent Cancer?
You may have heard of selenium because it’s an active ingredient in many multi-vitamins, dietary supplements and some infant formulas. Selenium is a vital nutrient that plays an important role in metabolism and thyroid function.
But that’s not all.
What is Selenium?
Selenium is a power antioxidant that protects DNA. This is helpful because it reduces damage to DNA, which reduces cancer growth, improves the aging process and prevent against many degenerative diseases.
Selenium is also an essential nutrient to help boost your immune system.
It’s important to remember that when DNA is damaged from free radicals, it leads to oxidative stress, which is linked to the following:
You may ask, what are free radicals?
Free radicals are atoms that are normally in your body, but there are factors that may contribute to overproduction, including:
- Exposure to toxic chemicals, such as pesticides and air pollution
- Processed foods
Selenium and Cancer
69 studies with over 350,000 people have shown selenium as a good defender against breast, lung, colon and prostate cancers (source).
In one region of China, where epidemic rates of esophageal and gastric cancers occurred, the risk was cut in half after large dose of selenium were given. In populations at higher risk for prostate cancer, selenium supplements decreased risk and growth rate of tumors. Selenium supplements may also be able to halt the growth of polyps in the colon and reduce the risk of lung and liver cancers (source).
Low selenium levels have been associated with high risk of thyroid cancer.
According to The Truth About Cancer, there is research to support “that selenium can contribute to natural antioxidant pathways, which stimulate apoptosis (cell death) in human cancer cells. It has also been found to reduce metastasis in skin cancers such as melanoma.”
Selenium also protects the body from heavy metals, such as mercury, cadmium and silver. Heavy metals at high levels are dangerous and can lead to a variety of health conditions.
Going the traditional route for cancer treatment? Selenium helps reduce the side effects from radiation therapy. One study found that oral selenium supplements improved overall quality of life and reduced radiation-induced diarrhea in women with cervical and uterine cancer (source).
Where You Can Find Selenium
Simple – from food that is grown, not food that is manufactured.
If you live in the U.S., you don’t have to worry about the soil where your food is sourced. But I always recommend that you buy organic.
The foods you should focus on are:
- Brazil nuts
There are also selenium supplements, here is my favorite one that’s on Amazon.
And remember, a healthy nutrition plan is the first line of defense against cancer and other diseases. If you’re looking for recipes to get started, check out one of my meal plans:
Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links.