What’s a guy to do?
It seems like everything you eat or drink is going to hurt your prostate.
Part of the problem is that in today’s world our bodies aren’t getting enough of the nutrients we need to protect ourselves.
Today I want to tell you about one of the simplest ways you can keep your prostate healthy and protected. I’m talking about the mineral selenium.
In a study done at Harvard, where they were looking at results from the famous, Physicians’ Health Study, Harvard researchers found that men who got the most selenium had the healthiest prostates.
This was true even for men with high PSA levels. If they were in the group with the most selenium, their prostate cancer risk dropped by 50%.1
The remarkable mineral selenium (Se) suppresses tumors (gold), kills cancer cells (pink), protects cells (green), and helps cells work better and stay young.
Source: Cancer Res. Apr 1, 2009; 69(7): 2699–2703.
A 50 percent lower risk shows up in many clinical trials for selenium and prostate health.
One study took 1,300 men and split them in two groups. The first took 200 mcg of selenium a day, the second got a sugar pill. The authors called the results “striking.” The overall risk of prostate cancer was almost 50 percent lower in the selenium group.2
Another eight-year clinical trial of over 5,000 men found similar results: those with normal PSA levels at the beginning of the study who took selenium saw their risk for prostate cancer drop more than fifty percent.3
Selenium is even protective if you already have prostate cancer, according to The Netherlands Cohort Study of almost 60,000 men. The data was presented at a recent American Association for Cancer Research annual meeting.
The Swedish and British researchers officially published those results last month. As I read the study, what I found most interesting was that as you get more selenium, your risk for prostate problems drops. People with the highest selenium had the lowest risk for prostate cancer.4
Geographic studies have found that in parts of the world where soil and diet are low in selenium, rates of prostate cancer are significantly higher.5 In fact, “Keshan’s disease” is named after a province in China where people weren’t getting enough selenium.
Men should be especially careful about getting enough selenium. It’s your prostate’s best defense. Selenium stops attackers from killing prostate cells.
In a new animal study, selenium stopped prostate bloating and growth. Selenium prevented the animals from getting BPH,6 which is an enlargement of the prostate that makes you have to pee all the time. BPH can lead to LUTS (lower urinary tract symptoms), which can lead to prostate cancer.7
You should get at least 30 micrograms and up to 200 micrograms of selenium a day.
It’s a small amount, but that doesn’t make it easy to get. We can’t get selenium in high amounts in fruits and vegetables anymore because of soil depletion.
The best foods for selenium are organ meats from grass-fed animals, garlic, nuts or fish.
- Fish is loaded with selenium. You can get all the selenium you need from a can of tuna or a serving of swordfish. If you are concerned about mercury in big fish like tuna or swordfish, you can go with cod. Three ounces of cod has 32 mcg of selenium.
- Organ meats like chicken livers or turkey and chicken giblets have a lot of selenium, too. For instance, one chicken liver will give you 140 micrograms of selenium. Muscle meat has less selenium. Three ounces of cooked beef have 35 mcg.
- One medium egg has 14 mcg of selenium.
- If liver and eggs aren’t your speed, you can eat some nuts. An ounce of walnuts has 5 micrograms. Almonds have a little less. A cup of almonds gives you 2.5 mcg.
- One variety of nut offers a full day’s worth of selenium in just one bite. It’s the Brazil nut. Brazil nuts grow in the Brazilian jungle where the soil is rich in the anti-cancer mineral. Just one single Brazil nut eaten right out of the shell will provide you with 100 mcg of selenium.
- If you don’t like fish or liver or nuts, then you’re going to want to supplement. If you take a multi-vitamin there’s probably a little selenium in it. If not, you should switch. And if you’ve had cancer or are at risk for the disease you should talk to your doctor about adding an additional selenium supplement.
To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD
1. Li H, Stampfer M, Giovannucci E, Morris J, Willett W, Gaziano J, Ma J. “A prospective study of plasma selenium levels and prostate cancer risk.” J Natl Cancer Inst. 2004;96(9):696-703.
2. Combs et al. “Reduction of cancer risk with an oral supplement of selenium.” Biomedical and Environmental Sciences. 1997. 10(2-3):227-34.
3. Meyer et al. “Antioxidant vitamin and mineral supplementation and prostate cancer prevention in the SU.VI.MAX trial.” International Journal of Cancer. 2005. 116(2):182-6.
4. Geybels M, et. al. “Selenoprotein gene variants, toenail selenium levels, and risk for advanced prostate cancer.” J Natl Cancer Inst. 2014;106(3):dju003.
5. Greenwood-Robins, Maggie Ph.D. Foods That Combat Cancer, Avon Books, 2004. p 29- 31.
6. Minutoli L, et. al. “Inhibitors of apoptosis proteins in experimental benign prostatic hyperplasia: effects of serenoa repens, selenium and lycopene.” J Biomed Sci. 2014;21(1):19.
7. Chang R, Kirby R, Challacombe B. “Is there a link between BPH and prostate cancer?” Practitioner. 2012;256(1750):13-6, 2.