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Selenium Lowers Prostate Risk

Eating foods packed with selenium may help men ward off advanced prostate cancer, according to a Harvard study reported in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. The study found that men with high levels of selenium were less likely to have advanced cancer than those with low amounts.

In the Harvard study, researchers collected the toenail clippings of over 33,000 men. Seven years later they looked at the incidence of advanced prostate cancer in that group. The interesting results were that the men with the most selenium in their nails were one-third as likely as those with the least amount to be diagnosed with an advanced case of the disease during that seven year period.

Similarly, a recent study at the University of Arizona found that men who took daily selenium supplements were 63 percent less likely to develop prostate cancer during the six year period that they were monitored. These men were significantly less likely to have lung or colorectal cancer, or to die from any type of cancer.

Supplements are the only way of getting sizable doses of the mineral - unless one is particularly fond of brazil nuts. Experts suggest that men over 50 and those at high risk for prostate cancer or already fighting the disease take supplements of 200 micrograms a day. In addition, vitamin E and C supplements and a low-fat diet have shown promise as cancer fighters. Most experts advise that 200 micrograms of selenium a day is plenty of the mineral. More than 1 mg a day can cause hair loss, tooth loss, fatigue, nausea, and vomiting. However, the biggest risk with taking a higher dosage may simply be that it is a waste of money.

Soy and Allergies

A study published in the journal, Allergy, has identified soy as a potential cause of severe food allergies in children who were also highly sensitive to peanuts. The co-author of the study says that most peanut-allergic children can tolerate soy. However, those who suffer from asthma and whose allergy to peanuts is so severe that they have a reaction on indirect contact should avoid soy. Parents of children with potential problems should check food labels carefully, in that soy protein is routinely hidden in hamburgers, sausages, and bread.

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This page was last updated on: Wednesday, July 28, 1999
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