Studies reveal the anti-cancer properties of Selenium


Studies suggest that cancer can naturally be treated by taking selenium supplements. Many kinds of research have declared selenium effective against colorectal and prostate cancer. Lack of selenium has been associated with two to three times surge in overall cancer risk especially that of esophagus, bladder, stomach, lung, and liver. Moreover, it has also associated with an eight-fold upsurge in thyroid cancer risk. This is because selenium is significant for accurate thyroid functioning.

There are three forms of selenium that have potent cancer-fighting assets. These are as follow,

  • L-selenomethionine
  • Selenium-methyl L-selenocysteine
  • Sodium Selenite

A study reveals that L-selenomethionine, an organic compound of selenium, can reduce the risk of cancer by 50 percent. L-selenomethionine is made of selenium mixed with L-methionine, an amino acid. It is included in most of the preparations of selenium-enriched brewer’s yeast.

The researchers discovered its cancer-fighting effects for the first time in 1996. It was originally studied for its protective effects against skin cancer.

Although, it was discovered to be ineffective on skin cancer yet, it prohibited the supplemented group of the study from dying of cancer. Moreover, it also reduced the risk of developing colorectal cancer, lung cancer, and prostate cancer by 37 percent.

Additional research exposed that L-selenomethionine supplementation could decrease prostate cancer rate by 63 to 74 percent. However, the decrease depends on the men’s histories and levels of prostate particular antigen.

Another research was conducted, employing individuals with precancerous esophageal variations. It showed that consumption of 200 micrograms (mg) of L-selenomethionine hindered the development of potentially cancerous cells. Moreover, it also encouraged these cells to go back to normal.

Selenium-methyl L-selenocysteine is also an organic compound of selenium. It is combined with L-cysteine, a sulfur-containing amino acid with specific anti-cancer abilities. Thus, this form of selenium prevents the tumor growth within blood vessels.

Sodium selenite exhibits shielding effects by killing cancer cells. It is responsible for destroying mitochondria in tumor cells. Interestingly, it does not damage the healthy cells.

Additionally, sodium selenite has enhanced antioxidant activity. It protects healthy tissue from free radical destruction. Moreover, it supports the repair of damaged DNA, hindering new cancer growth.

A clinical study exposed that sodium selenite improved immune system activity in people with vicious head and neck cancers. This intensely improved the damage of tumor cells.

Another research was conducted on Chinese men living in high-risk areas for liver cancer. It revealed that consuming 500 mcg of sodium selenite daily for three years cuts the likelihood of liver cancer cases by half.

Selenium’s various procedures of action, target cancer cells in numerous ways. Selenium inhibits potentially cancerous cells from developing into full-blown tumors. It does this by,

  • Inhibiting the inflammatory molecules that support cancer growth
  • Using antioxidants to reduce oxidative stress
  • Preventing the alteration of DNA
  • Eliminating carcinogenic toxins and heavy metals from the body
  • Hindering the replication cycle of cancerous cells
  • Restricting tumor development and invasion
  • Inducing cancer cell death

According to a number of researches, selenium not only has cancer-fighting properties but also offers the following benefits,

  • Inhibits heart diseases
  • Hinders mental decline and improves memory
  • Keeps the thyroid healthy
  • Supports the immune system
  • Helps recover asthma symptoms


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Areeba Hussain
The author is a Medical Microbiologist and healthcare writer. She is a post-graduate of Medical Microbiology and Immunology. She covers all content on health and wellness including weight loss, nutrition, and general health.


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