Selenium lowers the risk of prostate cancer

Supplementing with the trace element selenium may reduce a man's risk of developing prostate cancer, according to a Danish report.

Selenium lowers the risk of prostate cancerMen may reduce their risk of contracting prostate cancer simply taking supplements of selenium or by eating foods that are rich in this vital trace element. A 2014 report issued by the National Food Institute, a subdivision of the Technical University of Denmark, concludes on behalf of thorough analyses of the available science that there is an inverse relation between selenium intake and the incidence of prostate cancer. The new report represents the scientific foundation for a whole new set of dietary guidelines recently issued by the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration.

Europeans get too little selenium

Selenium is a so-called micro-nutrient that we get from, among other things, fish, shellfish, innards, nuts, and whole-grain. The selenium content in European diets is relatively low compared with e.g. that of a North American diet, which is down to the fact that European agricultural soil has lower levels of selenium in it. In fact, when EU put a levy on wheat import from the United States many years ago, the European selenium status dropped as a result of shifting from American to European wheat with a lower selenium content.

Important for the body

It is vital for humans to get adequate amounts of selenium. Researchers have identified at least 25-30 different selenium-dependent proteins (selenoproteins) that require the presence of selenium in order to function properly. Some of these selenoproteins control the body's defense against virus, bacteria, infections and, apparently, certain forms of cancer.