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Selenium could play a protective role in decreasing bowel cancer risk

Posted:  Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Selenium has long been associated with antioxidant properties and now UK researchers have attributed yet another beneficial effect to selenium. Their research showed that a higher selenium status is significantly associated with a lower risk of colorectal cancer.

Published in the International Journal of Cancer, the research aimed to investigate the effect of variations in selenium intake on colorectal cancer risk. Variation in the selenium content of the soil would determine the selenium intake of a particular region.

The researchers studied blood samples and dietary and lifestyle patterns of more than 520,000 participants across 10 Western European countries. They found that a higher selenium status is associated with a lower risk of colorectal cancer. According to the Food and Nutrition Board recommends 55 mcg of selenium per day for people over the age of 14. Dietary sources of selenium include foods such as brazil nuts, shellfish, red meat and offal.

Talking about the study, lead researcher Prof. Hesketh said, “What our study shows is a possible link between higher levels of selenium and a decreased risk of colorectal cancer and suggests that increasing the selenium intake may reduce the risk of the disease.” However, he cautions that, “Our results support a role for selenium in the prevention of colorectal cancer, but this has to be balanced with caution regarding the potential toxic effects of taking too much.”

Consuming a balanced diet that provides adequate amounts of the essential element selenium can be beneficial in reducing the risk of not just bowel cancer but also other conditions.

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