Selenium

  1. Watch out for vitamin D carpetbaggers

    Well, what do ya know? Vitamin D has finally hit the big time.

    In fact, sometime in the near future, you might be able to say taking it prevents cancer. And you won't go to prison for it. And you won't have to pay a whopping fine... even you're a merchant selling a product that contains vitamin D!

    As you remember...

    A few weeks back, I told you that the FDA only allows drug makers to talk about diseases. And there are very few exceptions in the vitamin world. Selenium is one of them. Merchants can make "qualified claims" about selenium and cancer prevention. And now, vitamin D seems on the brink of achieving the same superstar status!

    Late last month, the Alliance for Natural Health-USA announced plans to petition the FDA on behalf of vitamin D. They are submitting a "qualified health claim" to the FDA about cancer prevention with vitamin D based on literally 6,000 published studies.

    If the FDA approves it, you may see something like this on your milk jug: Contains vitamin D, proven to help in the prevention of breast cancer. Of course, the jug will probably be pink.

    (Sigh.)

    So, yes, I'm certainly wary of the vitamin D carpetbaggers jumping on the bandwagon to boost sales. But I guess I'll live with it. Better to let vitamin D out of the closet than keep its potential under wraps.

  2. Reduce your risk of dangerous colon polyps by 40 percent

    Last month, I told you about steps you should take to prevent colon polyps. And now, I have more solid advice. Make sure to get plenty of antioxidants, especially selenium. It will help protect you against dangerous growths in your colon. In fact, a new study shows that certain antioxidants may reduce your risk of polyps by up to 40 percent.

    High-risk patients shrink their risk of colon cancer

    Polyps that grow in your large bowel start out benign. But over time, they can turn cancerous. Plus, if you've already had one polyp, you're at greater risk for developing more. But now we know there's another sure-fire way to shrink your risk...

    Recently, a group of Italian researchers rounded up 400 high-risk men and women with a history of benign polyps to take part in their study. They wanted to see if antioxidants would help prevent the polyps from returning. They gave half of the patients a daily supplement containing selenium and zinc, as well as vitamins A, C, and E—five antioxidant powerhouses. The other half took a placebo.

    Researchers found that men and women who took antioxidants developed 40 percent fewer new polyps in the large bowel. But that's not all...

    The study also showed that antioxidants have long-term benefits. In fact, researchers found that the antioxidant group still had 40 percent fewer polyps compared to the placebo group even 13 years after the study ended!

    Interpreting the results...

    Now, if I had to pick out the real star in the group, I'd pick selenium. It's a trace mineral that helps strengthen your immune system. In the old days, you probably got plenty of it just by eating fruits and vegetables. But today, that's just not the case.

    Why?

    Well, most soil used for farming today just doesn't contain much. As a result, the fruits and vegetables don't contain much of it either. In my book, that's one reason why cancer rates have skyrocketed in the last 50 years.

    You see, your body needs selenium to guard against cancer. It boosts T cell activity in the body. It also encourages T cells to produce cytokines, which act as messengers throughout all the cells in your body. Selenium also helps white blood cells produce antibodies and fight off toxins invading your system.

    The study that started it all...

    The first big selenium study came out about 10 years ago in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). This one involved patients with a history of skin cancer. Scientists wanted to see if selenium could prevent skin cancer..

    Unfortunately it didn't. But it did prevent prostate, colon, and lung cancer. In fact, patients who took selenium had 63 percent fewer prostate cancers, 58 percent fewer colorectal cancers, and 46 percent fewer lung cancers than the placebo group.

    Plus, when scientists followed up with their patients after six years, the selenium group had fewer cancer-related deaths as well. In fact, the men and women taking selenium had almost 50 percent fewer cancer deaths overall.

    Load up on antioxidants—especially selenium—in 2010

    Now's the perfect time to start a new routine. I recommend getting plenty of antioxidants, especially selenium. I'd go for 200 mcg (micrograms) of selenium along with vitamin E for extra antioxidant protection. In fact, that's exactly how much the high-risk colon cancer patients took to prevent their polyps from returning.

    Here's to a healthy, happy 2010 everyone!

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