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July 2020
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Selenium against Prostate Cancer Risk

A study conducted by researchers from the Ohio State University found that selenium can reduce specific markers that increase the risk of prostate cancer.

The Dreaded Prostate Cancer

The average age of prostate cancer diagnosis is 67 years old.  This is according to the National Cancer Institute Surveillance and Epidemiology and End Results Center; this is based on the incidence of prostate cancer in the United States from 2003 to 2007. Based on the same data, more than 16 percent of men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. In the United States alone, it is estimated that more than 210,000 men will be diagnosed of prostate cancer and over 32,000 will die of the dreaded condition.

There are no assured means of preventing prostate cancer. But making smart choices in the foods that you eat and avoiding the risk factors associated with it can help in preventing the disease. Like other types of cancer, prostate cancer starts when cells begin to behave abnormally. It is clear that this behavior of the cells is caused by the mutation of the genes but researchers are still trying to better understand what causes and what triggers the mutation.

Lowering the risk of prostate cancer will take a little more than just diet modification. Taking bigger steps like changing your lifestyle and avoiding cancer-inducing habits may help in reducing your risk. Studies show that lifestyle intervention is the best approach in preventing prostate cancer and other diseases for people with heightened risk.

Natural Ways to Lower Your Risk

The nutritional guidelines for preventing prostate cancer is yet to be established. But so far, studies show that specific eating habits are linked to a lowered risk of developing the disease. Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables can supply the body with essential nutrients that helps in preventing different kinds of cancer.  Food sources rich in cancer-fighting substances like folate, vitamin B complex and diindolylmethane, which is found in cruciferous vegetables like kale, cabbage and broccoli, are well-recommended.  Sensible eating means balancing your calorie intake according to your body’s requirement.

The incidence of prostate cancer varies in different countries. Studies show that the highest rate appears in populations with the highest intake of fat. Foods rich in saturated fats, like those found in red meats, can increase the risk of developing prostate cancer. Eating whole-grain foods like whole-wheat breads and brown rice while limiting the consumption of refined sugar and white flour can also help in preventing the disease.

Eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids is also linked to a lower risk of developing prostate cancer. Omega-3 is found in salmon, mackerel, herrings and other cold-water fishes. Although there are mixed scientific evidence regarding the potency of omega-3 in lowering the risk of developing cancer, adding foods rich in the nutrient into your daily diet offers other health benefits like the prevention of cardiovascular disease.

Soybean products and other legumes are rich in phytoestogens, an enzyme found in plants that act like estrogen in the body. These chemicals can help reduce the risk of prostate cancer. A good evidence for this is the low incidence of prostate cancer in Asian countries where soybeans and soybean products are popular food choices.

Green tea contains various antioxidants like polyphenols that has been found to lower the risk of developing cancer. Vitamin D, on the other hand, has also showed strong potential in lowering the risk of developing prostate cancer. Foods rich in vitamin D are egg yolks, and fish liver oil. Exposing the skin to the sun for a few minutes a day will also trigger the production of vitamin D in the body.

The high incidence of prostate cancer drives state and privately-funded studies to determine better ways to prevent the disease. Researchers are also looking at the potency of some nutrients in fighting prostate cancer risk. A study conducted by researchers from the Ohio State University found that the supplementation of selenium can lower the levels of prostate cancer markers such as prostate specific antigen (PSA) and help in reducing the risk of the disease.

Selenium to Lower the Risk of Prostate Cancer

A study published in the Nutrition Research journal showed that selenium glycinate can improve the activities of plasma enzymes and reduce the levels of prostate cancer markers. The researchers from the Ohio State University said that the regular supplementation of selenium in a group of 30 middle-aged Americans resulted to a reduced risk of developing prostate cancer. They added that their study contradicts the popular notion that selenium cannot improve the activity of blood glutathione peroxides and lower the risk of prostate cancer.

Head researcher Dr Robert DiSilvestro of the Department of Human Nutrition and his co-authors said that if selenium has the ability to lower prostate-specific antigens in study participants, it can also lower the risk of prostate cancer.  This could be better achieved by introducing the nutrient in daily diet. They used a certain form of selenium called selenium glycinate which has not been used in previous studies. The researchers added that selenium glycinate has significantly high bioactivity.

The researchers reported that the supplementation of selenium raised the levels of erythrocyte and plasma activities in study participants. They also found that cancer risk marker serum PSA was lowered by selenium glycinate. But they added that the reduction in prostate cancer markers does not necessarily mean a lower risk of developing the disease.

Health Benefits of Selenium

Selenium is a mineral present in the soil and which appears in small amounts in some foods and in water. The nutrient plays an important role in metabolism and recent studies show that selenium has strong antioxidant properties. Although there are some evidences suggesting that high levels of selenium can increase the risk of skin cancer, regulated levels of the nutrient can result to a lower risk of developing various diseases. Population studies show that selenium deficiency is rare in healthy people.

The Recommended Dietary Intake of selenium for adults and children aged 14 years and above is 55 to 70 micrograms in a day. For the prevention of prostate cancer, men can take as much as 200 micrograms a day. But the threshold for selenium intake should be no more than 400 micrograms; anything beyond this is considered an overdose. Selenium has been used as a treatment for asthma, infertility and arthritis. But more importantly, selenium can act as an antioxidant which neutralizes cancer-causing free radicals and at the same time improve the potency of other antioxidants.


Related Posts

  1. Green Tea Associated with Lower Prostate Cancer Risk
  2. Selenium Studies Support Preventive Benefits Against Bladder Cancer
  3. The “Miracle Mineral” Selenium Aids In The Reduction of Heart Disease, Study Finds
  4. Reishi Mushroom Slows Prostate Cancer Growth, Study Shows
  5. Resveratrol: A Potent Weapon Against Prostate Cancer

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