Anti Aging Today

Selenium

There has never been a study to test the effects on lifespan of the trace mineral selenium, but an early study, which examined the toxicity of selenium (and other minerals) found, by accident, that it extended the lifespan of laboratory mice. There have been dozens of studies showing that dietary selenium can help to prevent a wide variety of cancers, and that it may be useful in the treatment of cancer. Anyone taking selenium on a daily basis for antiaging purpose should be careful to keep their doses low to avoid the possibility of toxic side effects.

Selenium, an essential trace element, is involved in the development of mammalian sperm and protection against heart disease and cancer. A cofactor of glutathione peroxidase, it is also involved in the regulation of glycoprotein production and cellular respiration. Other biologically active proteins contain selenium, including the enzyme that converts inactive thyroid hormone (T4) to its active form (T3).

Most people are likely to consume too little selenium rather than too much; highly stressed people and vegetarians probably require more. The incidence of some diseases is lower in areas where the soil selenium content of crops is higher. China, New Zealand, and Scandinavia have selenium-poor soils.

Individuals on a low selenium diet showed a rapid increase in plasma selenoprotein following supplementation with selenium. A review of over 200 epidemiologic studies found that selenium is among a group of fruit and vegetable-derived substances that show particular promise in cancer prevention. A recent review of the scientific literature revealed that preliminary observations also suggest that a low serum selenium concentration is associated with increased platelet aggregation, low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and elevated blood pressure.

Animals receiving a selenium- and retinoic acid-supplemented diet experienced significantly fewer chemically induced tumors than non-supplemented animals. In a large-scale 5-year study, subjects receiving selenium, beta-carotene and vitamin E supplementation had reduced total and cancer mortality, when compared with three other supplement groups. Another large-scale study showed that selenium supplementation is an effective preventative agent against some carcinomas.

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