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High Selenium Levels May Fight Colon Cancer

You may recall previous stories I've posted about the use of selenium, a trace mineral found in meats, grains, seafood and some nuts, that has been studied to treat breast cancer and prostate cancer. New research has found high levels of selenium in the blood may also reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.

The catch about selenium: How much you get varies according to where you live, because different areas have different concentrations of it in the soil. Those who live in areas where selenium intake is low have higher rates of colorectal and other cancers.

After collecting data from three randomized trials, scientists found those with the highest selenium levels had a 34 percent lower risk of developing a new colon cancer, compared with those who had the lowest selenium levels. Based on their findings, researchers believe selenium may also protect against prostate cancer and lung cancer.

Although it is unknown if adding to your selenium intake is beneficial, increasing selenium consumption will help people who have low levels of the element, researchers said.

The risks of having too much selenium are not known but are being studied. Additional research is under way to determine the optimum selenium levels needed to prevent colon cancer and prostate cancer.

Yahoo News November 16, 2004

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