Selenium May Help Reduce Prostate Cancer Risk
Most research to date has suggested that selenium intake does not have an effect on prostate cancer risk. However, a new study has found that increasing selenium glycinate intake may reduce a marker of prostate cancer risk.
The study was conducted by researchers from Ohio State University. Their findings were published in the February 2011 edition of Nutrition Research.
30 healthy middle-aged men were recruited for the study. The participants received 200 mg of selenium glycinate or a placebo daily for 6 weeks.
At the end of the 6 week period, the researchers found that the participants who received the selenium glycinate supplementation had raised plasma glutathione peroxidase and red blood cell activities. Additionally, a reduction was seen in the prostate cancer risk marker of serum PSA (prostate-specific antigen). No effect was seen in the participants who received the placebo.
Previous research has suggested that increases in the activity of plasma glutathione peroxidase and red blood cells can reflect larger changes in the prostate.
PSA is a protein produced by the cells of the prostate. It is present in small quantities in the serum of men with healthy prostates, but becomes elevated in the presence of prostate cancer and other prostate disorders.
The researchers explained that reduction in a marker of prostate cancer does not necessarily mean a reduction in cancer risk. However, they said the results of the study justify further study of the link between selenium supplementation and prostate cancer risk.
Selenium is a trace mineral essential for good health, as it helps protect the body from cellular damage by free radicals. Selenium is mostly found in plant foods, but also in some meats and seafood. Some foods that are high in selenium are Brazil nuts, mushrooms, pork and tuna. Previous studies have linked selenium to a decrease in the risk of some cancers, regulation of blood sugar levels and reducing the effects of aging