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Low Selenium Levels Linked to Higher Risk of Liver Cancer

Selenium is an essential mineral that works as an antioxidant. Selenium is also the only mineral the FDA has approved for a qualified health claim for general cancer reduction incidence. A recent study suggests that high blood levels of selenium may be associated with a lower risk of developing liver cancer.


Participants in the study included 477,000 people who took part in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition. The researchers looked specifically at people who developed hepatocellular carcinoma (also known as liver cancer), gallbladder cancer, and intrahepatic bile duct cancer during the ten year follow up period. They also measured blood levels of selenium and selenoprotein P of all of the participants.


The researchers found that the people with the lowest levels of selenium were five to ten times more likely to develop liver cancer. Supplementation did not have a direct protective effect against liver cancer but a balanced diet that includes selenium as an integral part was found to be important. They did not find any similar connections between selenium levels and the other types of cancer.


Researchers from Charité — Universitätsmedizin Berlin conducted the study. It was published in the August 2016 issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.


Previous studies have shown that maintaining sufficient levels of selenium is important for reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and immune dysfunction.


Some foods rich in selenium are Brazil nuts, broccoli, mushrooms, garlic, sunflower seeds, walnuts, raisins, pork and fish.

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