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Selenium Studies Support Preventive Benefits Against Bladder Cancer

Increased intake of selenium through natural methods may reduce the risk of bladder cancer according to recent studies.

Selenium is one of the most commonly found nutrients in plants and animals. Despite its toxicity in high levels, selenium is an essential micronutrient for animals, plants and humans. It occurs as an inactive substance in plants and only serves as a defense from being eaten by animals. But some plants also require selenium to grow, and the growth of such plants like locoweed is an indication of selenium deposits in the soil where it grows. Selenium is a trace element in humans and functions primarily as a co-factor for the thyroid gland in the production of needed hormones.

According to the findings of the Genetic and Molecular Epidemiology Group at the Spanish National Cancer Research Center led by Dr. Nuria Malats, increased selenium intake shows significant effects in the reduction of bladder cancer risk. The study was a meta-analysis of seven published studies on selenium and bladder cancer and also suggested that the efficacy of selenium is affected by gender; women showed a variance of selenium excretion and accumulation to mm, and women being more susceptible to selenium’s protective value against bladder cancer.

Selenium is an essential micronutrient in humans and is generally treated and used as an antioxidant. Several studies have been dedicated to the discovery of selenium’s health benefits and preventive value against cancer in general.  Results have shown that aside from bladder cancer risk reduction, high levels of selenium intake reduce the risk of developing cancers of the prostate, skin and thyroid. Despite the results of their study, Dr Malats gave a disclaimer that the efficacy of selenium against bladder cancer will require further study at a larger scale to support the initial evidence that the group has acquired.

Furthermore, since selenium can be toxic in excessive dosage, future studies will include evaluating the appropriate dosage in getting the expected effect without subjecting the body to adverse effects brought about by selenium poisoning.

Natural Sources of Selenium

Selenium is not very hard to find. It is one of the primary nutrients contained in most food supplement brands. But selenium is also found in natural sources like nuts, poultry, meats and seafood. However, the most recommended and safest way of getting sufficient dosage of selenium for the body’s nutritional needs, in order to take advantage of its known preventive value against degenerative diseases like bladder cancer, is by eating foods known to contain selenium. This prevents selenium overdose which is also known to have toxic properties that may have dangerous effects to the body.

Selenium can also be found in crops that were grown in soil with high selenium content like brown rice and oats. Here is a list of popular foods and their selenium content in micrograms per 100 grams of food:

  • Whole grain wheat flour- 71 mcg
  • Brazil nuts- 1910 mcg
  • Salted mixed nuts, nuts- 420 mcg
  • Tuna – 76 mcg
  • Chicken- 56 mcg
  • Pork- 50 mcg
  • Beef- 43 mcg
  • Crustaceans- 43

The recommended daily selenium intake is 70 micrograms for men and 55 micrograms for women. Notice that men have higher needs for selenium compared to women since women have stronger abilities to accumulate and excrete selenium. For individuals with greater needs for selenium, a recommend minimum dosage of 600 micrograms is needed to get the required effects.

Excessive intake of selenium or a daily intake above 600 micrograms may lead to nausea, depression, loss of hair and falling of the fingernails, nervousness, and vomiting. It may even cause bad breath. On the other hand, deficiency in selenium happens in rare cases since selenium is usually present in most popular foods. But in case of selenium deficiency, the individual may easily experience fatigue and weakness of the muscles.

Health Benefits of Selenium

Against Cancer

Selenium has been taking the limelight in recent cancer research due to its preventive and possible curative properties against cancer. In a five-year study conducted by the University of Arizona and the Cornell University, results have shown that taking 200 micrograms of selenium a day reduces cancer-related deaths by 39 percent. It also reduced the risk of prostate cancer by 63 percent, colorectal cancer by 58 percent, and lung cancer by 46 percent. The same study also showed the potential preventative value of selenium against cancer of the pancreas, esophagus, ovaries, rectum, cervix, and liver. Selenium is also being studied for its benefits in curing leukemia.

For a Healthy Heart

The body’s level of good cholesterol also benefits from selenium. The micronutrient has been proven to increase the level of high density lipoprotein (HDL) or good cholesterol over the low density lipoprotein (LDL) or bad cholesterol. Selenium reduces the blood’s stickiness; thus, reducing the risk of a heart attack and stroke for people with heart problems. It is recommended for people who have had a previous case of stroke or heart attack to take selenium to help prevent reoccurrence.

For Proper Cell Function and Eye Health

One of the most significant roles of selenium in the body is activating body cells and helping them to function properly by transforming body thyroid hormones. Selenium is also needed in the prevention of muscular degeneration and cataracts.

For Stronger Immunity

Studies showed that selenium enhances the capacity of white blood cells to protect the body from foreign toxins, bacteria and viruses. Selenium is also being studied for its possible efficacy against Human Immunodeficiency Virus or HIV.

Tips for Bladder Health

It’s always good to keep yourself well hydrated. Every time you excrete through your bladder, your body eliminates waste products your body no longer needs. To keep the process smoothly going and without any blockages, you need to drink at least 8 glasses of 8-ounce of water a day for adults.

Smoking comprises half of the causes of bladder cancer in men and a quarter in women. Needless to say, smoking has several adverse long term effects to the body including bladder cancer so this is one good reason for smokers to give up the habit.

It’s also important to watch what you eat. Putting more fruits and vegetables on your dinner plate will help keep your bladder in good condition and always check your selenium intake and keep it at a adequate level.

Lastly, avoid being exposed to chemicals with strong odors. Chemicals used in making rubber, paint and other materials have been linked to the development of bladder cancer.


Sources

nutraingredients.com
ehow.com
dietaryfiberfood.com
en.wikipedia.org

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  4. Yoga Provides Benefits To Women With Breast Cancer, Study Concludes
  5. Essential Trace Mineral May Help Slow HIV Advancement…
  


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