Selenium for cancer – choose carefully: MeSeCys

Dr. Weeks’ Comment:  selenium has long been used to fight cancer and other diseases based upon its ability to enhance the function of  glutathione and super oxide dismutase  as well as other  immune and anti-oxidant  processes in the body.  However, selenium is a two edged sword and a sharp one at that!  Toxic in high doses  (blindness,  “the blind staggers”) at appropriate doses it can be a life saver.   ut what form is best?   Most corrective doctors use  sodium selenite, some use selenomethionine,

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Does Selenium Prevent Cancer? It May Depend on Which Form People Take

ScienceDaily (Mar. 16, 2011) ”” 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.

The authors acknowledge funding from the Australian Research Council.


Journal Reference:

  1. Claire M. Weekley, Jade B. Aitken, Stefan Vogt, Lydia A. Finney, David J. Paterson, Martin D. de Jonge, Daryl L. Howard, Ian F. Musgrave, Hugh H. Harris. Uptake, Distribution, and Speciation of Selenoamino Acids by Human Cancer Cells: X-ray Absorption and Fluorescence Methods. Biochemistry, 2011; 50 (10): 1641 DOI: 10.1021/bi101678a

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Dr. Weeks’ Comment:  selenium has long been used to fight cancer and other diseases based upon its ability to enhance the function of  glutathione and super oxide dismutase  as well as other  immune and anti-oxidant  processes in the body.  However, selenium is a two edged sword and a sharp one at that!  Toxic in high…
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