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December 9, 2009 | 2 minute read

Selenium Fighting Cancer

Chances are, you’ve heard of the mineral selenium because it’s one of those minerals that has shown a lot of cancer-fighting promise over the years. The latest selenium-cancer news being reported relates to colorectal cancer:

crimini mushrooms

Presented yesterday at a major cancer prevention conference, the study suggests that a supplement containing selenium reduced the risk of having polpys recur by about 40 percent. (Polyps or adenomas are benign growths on the colon that, over time, can turn cancerous.)

The 411 participants had already had at least one colorectal adenoma removed. They took either a placebo or an antioxidant compound, which contained selenium, along with zinc, and vitamins A , C, and E. Five years and three colonoscopies later, the selenium-supplement group had significantly fewer polyps occur.

It’s still a preliminary study – far too preliminary for anyone to start taking selenium (or other) supplements to fight cancer. In fact, experts warn that too much selenium can be harmful. But if you want to add more selenium to your diet there’s plenty of healthy foods you can eat. In general, crimini or portabella mushrooms, eggs, and fish are good sources of this mineral. Need recipes? Last week, Cathy wrote about a recipe for hearty mushroom soup, which you can look at here.

In other selenium news, Cancer Research Update features a scientist at Roswell Park whose lab studies suggest that a selenium compound may improve cancer treatment.

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