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Does selenium prevent cancer? It may depend on which form people take

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Public release date: 16-Mar-2011

Structure of trigonal selenium

Scientists are reporting that the controversy surrounding whether selenium can fight cancer in humans might come down to which form of the essential micronutrient people take. It turns out that not all “seleniums” are the same — the researchers found that one type of selenium supplement may produce a possible cancer-preventing substance more efficiently than another form of selenium in human cancer cells. Their study appears in the ACS’ journal Biochemistry.

Hugh Harris and colleagues note that although the Nutritional Prevention of Cancer clinical trial showed that selenium reduced the risk of cancer, a later study called the Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial did not show a benefit. A major difference between the trials was the form of selenium that was used. To find out whether different types of selenium have different chemopreventive properties, the researchers studied how two forms—SeMet and MeSeCys—are processed in human lung cancer cells.

The researchers found that MeSeCys killed more lung cancer cells than SeMet did. Also, lung cancer cells treated with MeSeCys processed the selenium differently than than cells treated with SeMet. They say that these findings could explain why studies on the health benefits of selenium sometimes have conflicting results.

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About Post Author

Ralph Turchiano

I have a strong affinity for the sciences which led me to create my sites. My compulsion for the past decade has been reviewing literally every peer-reviewed research article. Which can easily be validated by following my posts. To me, science is where the real news is, as it will mold our destiny beyond that of politics or economics. 😉 Please feel free to e-mail: 161803p314159@gmail.com
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