A mineral that decreases your cancer risk 10x?

There’s one mineral that’s crucial to cutting your cancer risk. If you’re not getting enough of it, your risk of getting cancer goes up 33 percent. And your risk of dying from cancer goes up 45 percent.

Being deficient in this mineral makes you more susceptible to colorectal, prostate, lung, bladder, skin, esophageal and gastric cancers… just to name a few.

Now, you’re probably wondering what single mineral could be such a cancer prevention powerhouse…

Well, it’s not zinc. Or calcium. Or magnesium. Or iron. (Although, these minerals all play an important role in your health too.)

This cancer-crushing mineral is selenium. And it’s such a powerful cancer-fighter because it’s a potent antioxidant that helps repair your DNA, maintains healthy cells and keeps your endocrine and immune systems running like well-oiled machines. If you get enough selenium, it will protect you from thyroid disease, cardiovascular disease and cognitive decline too.

That sounds like a sweet deal to me. And it just keeps getting sweeter…

The latest research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that high levels of selenium in your blood can decrease your risk of liver cancer.

A team of researchers from the Charité Hospital in Berlin followed a cohort of 477,000 study participants, specifically picking out participants who developed liver cancer after 10 years. They compared the bloodwork of people in the cohort who developed liver cancer to those who didn’t. And they made one shocking discovery…

People with the lowest levels of selenium were five to 10 times more likely to develop liver cancer.

Study results that dramatic leave you speechless. And they also send you running to the store for the first bottle of selenium you can find. But there are a few things you should know before you start supplementing.

First off, you want to avoid manmade forms of selenium like selenium selenite — these can be toxic and may even cause cancer. Of course, it’s always better to get your vitamins and minerals from your diet when possible… and the same holds true for selenium.

The FDA recommends 55 micrograms of selenium per day.  But you can safely take up to 200 mcg. Just don’t take any more than that. Vitamin E can help increase the absorption of selenium.

According to information at the Linus Pauling Institute, the best dietary sources of selenium are:

Food Serving Selenium (μg)
Brazil nuts (from selenium-rich soil) 1 ounce (6 kernels) 543.5*
Tuna (yellowfin, cooked, dry heat) 3 ounces 92.0
Oysters (Pacific, raw) 3 ounces 65.4
Clams (mixed, cooked, steamed) 3 ounces 54.4
Halibut (Atlantic and Pacific, cooked, dry heat) 3 ounces 47.1
Shrimp (cooked, steamed) 3 ounces 42.1
Salmon (Chinook, cooked, dry heat) 3 ounces 39.8
Noodles (egg, cooked, enriched) 1 cup 38.2
Crab (queen, cooked, steamed) 3 ounces 37.7
Pork (lean, tenderloin, cooked, roasted) 3 ounces 32.5
Beef (lean, plate steak, cooked, grilled) 3 ounces 30.6
Chicken (light-meat, cooked, roasted) 3 ounces 25.8
Rice (brown, long-grain, cooked) 1 cup 19.1
Sunflowers seed kernels (dried) ¼ cup 18.6
Whole-wheat bread 2 slices 16.4
Milk (fat free or skim) 8 fluid ounces (1 cup) 7.6
*Above the tolerable upper intake level (UL) of 400 μg/day.

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Sources:
  1. “Selenium.” National Institutes of Health. https://ods.od.nih.gov. Retrieved August 31, 2016.
  2. J. Hughes et al. “Prediagnostic selenium status and hepatobiliary cancer risk in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition cohort.” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2016).
  3. “Selenium.” Dr.Weil.com. http://www.drweil.com. Retrieved August 31, 2016.
  4. “If Your Multivitamin Contains These Ingredients – Dump them now..” Mercola.com. http://articles.mercola.com. Retrieved August 31, 2016.
  5. http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/minerals/selenium

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Jenny Smiechowski

By Jenny Smiechowski

Jenny Smiechowski is a Chicago-based freelance writer who specializes in health, nutrition and the environment. Her work has appeared in online and print publications like Chicagoland Gardening magazine, Organic Lifestyle Magazine, BetterLife Magazine, TheFix.com, Hybridcars.com and Seedstock.com.