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HHS HealthBeat (April 3, 2014)

Selenium and prostate cancer

From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.

A study indicates that selenium supplements raised the risk of a potentially deadly and fast-spreading prostate cancer in men who already had at least enough of this trace mineral. Researcher Alan Kristal of Seattle’s Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center saw this in about eight years of data on more than 35,000 men.

Kristal looked at the most commonly sold forms and doses of selenium supplements:

“There was nearly a double the risk of high grade prostate cancer among the men who already had moderate or high selenium levels at baseline.”

Kristal recommends against selenium supplements. He sees no benefit and a good deal of potential harm.

The study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

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HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.

Last revised: April 3, 2014