Selenium and Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer has been associated with low serum selenium concentration. To investigate the mechanisms by which selenium affects gene expression prostate tissue, researchers set out to measure activity of glutathione peroxidase in men with relatively high serum selenium concentration (1).

The researchers measured serum selenium concentration in 98 men using atomic absorption spectrometry. Afterward, 12 men were selected for having the highest serum selenium concentration and another 12 were identified as having the lowest serum selenium concentration. Fresh prostate tissue samples were taken of the selected men to measure selenium concentration and glutathione peroxidase activity.

The study, which was published in July 2007, reported a positive correlation found between a higher serum selenium concentration and a prostate tissue concentration. However, there was no significant increase of glutathione peroxidase activity associated with the higher concentration of selenium concentration.

Discussion: Because the subjects of this study were already were identified as having high serum selenium concentrations, the results indicate simply that glutathione peroxidase activity is not increased by greater concentration of selenium beyond a certain requirement. The data suggest selenium dietary intake exceeding established amounts to correct deficiency do not present any additional benefit in prevention of prostate cancer.

Reference List

1. Takata Y, Morris JS, King IB, Kristal AR, Lin DW, Peters U. Correlation between selenium concentrations and glutathione peroxidase activity in serum and human prostate tissue. Prostate 2009.

Published by David Despain, MS, CFS

David is a science and health writer living on Long Island, New York. He's written for a variety of publications including Scientific American, Outside Online, the American Society for Nutrition's (ASN) Nutrition Notes Daily, and Institute of Food Technologists' (IFT) Food Technology magazine and Live! blog. He's also covered new findings reported at scientific meetings including Experimental Biology, AAAS, AOCS, CASW, Sigma Xi, IFT, and others on his personal blog "Evolving Health." David is also an active member of organizations including the National Association of Science Writers (NASW), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Society for Nutrition, the Institute of Food Technologists, and the National Audubon Society. David has a master's degree in human nutrition from the University of Bridgeport, and a bachelor's degree in English from University of Illinois at Springfield. He also earned his Certified Food Scientist credential from the Institute of Food Technologists.

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