Selenium Linked to Lower Skin Cancer Risks

Higher blood levels of selenium may reduce the incidence of the most common skin cancers by about 60%, according to a new study.

What is the most common malignant disease throughout the world? The skin cancer basal cell carcinoma (BCC), which affects approximately one million Americans each year. Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), not nearly as common, is the second most common skin cancer, with 250,000 new cases diagnosed each year.

Researchers are reporting in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention that selenium was associated with reduced risks of both basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma.

The highest average selenium levels were associated with a 57% reduction in the incidence of BCC, and a 64% reduction in the incidence of SCC, compared to the lowest average selenium levels. The study also looked at blood levels of carotenoids and alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E) but did not find any relationship between those levels and skin cancer incidence.

Selenium is a trace element that occurs naturally in the soil and is absorbed by plants and crops, which is how it enters the food supply. However, the amount of selenium in the soil varies widely by region, and has become depleted by over-farming and commercial fertilization.

The mineral is included in 50-100 different proteins in the body, with varied roles including building heart muscles and healthy sperm, and assisting in immune function. But cancer prevention remains one of the major and best-know benefits of selenium, and it is the only mineral that qualifies for an FDA-approved qualified health claim for general cancer reduction incidence.

With its many significant benefits and the protection it provides against chronic disease, selenium is an important part of a complete daily nutritional supplement program, such as Basic Nutrient Support. Selenium is also part of the Immunity Support, Memory & Mental Support and Prostate Support formulas because of its specific roles in those systems.

To protect against skin cancer, your best defense is to be sun smart: avoid sun exposure during the peak 10am- 4pm hours; wear protective clothing, hats and glasses when out in the sun; wear sunscreen daily; and do not use tanning beds.