Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Foods Rich in Selenium Could Reduce Cancer Risk

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Foods Rich in Selenium Could Reduce Cancer Risk

Article excerpt

Byline: Helen Rae Health Reporter

EATING foods such as Brazil nuts, seafood and egg yolk could help reduce your chances of developing bowel cancer, new research has revealed.

Higher levels of the mineral selenium are associated with a decreased risk of bowel cancer, North East experts have found.

A study, led jointly by Newcastle University, the International Agency for research on Cancer (IARC-WHO) and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, has shown that in Europe we have much lower levels of selenium in our blood than people living in Canada and USA.

Brazil nuts are one of the best natural sources of selenium, but other foods rich in the mineral include shellfish, red meat, offal, egg yolk and Canadian flour.

Assessing selenium status from both the total amount of the mineral in the blood and the serum selenoprotein P levels, which reflect the amount of selenium bound up in the carrier protein, the team found that a higher selenium status is significantly associated with a lower risk of bowel cancer. The results also indicate this could be more relevant for women.

The low selenium levels found in these blood samples are likely to be linked to the low levels of selenium found in European soils and subsequently in the food grown on them. Now the research team - involving experts from across Europe - are calling for more work to be done to look at the potential benefit of supplementing our diets either by adding selenium to our food or directly to the land.

Newcastle University's Prof John Hesketh said: "Interest in the question of whether selenium intake affects cancer risk has waned a little in recent years because of negative results from a trial in the USA and the reported possible link of selenium to greater risk of diabetes if taken in high doses.

"What our study does is put the debate around selenium and cancer back on the table and highlights the need for further research to understand the benefits, if any, of supplementing diets in regions where selenium is naturally low. …

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