Individuals infected with the hepatitis B virus are at increased risk for liver cancer, and a similar risk has been suggested for hepatitis C. Researchers in Taiwan suggest that low blood levels of the element selenium may be linked to the increased risk of liver cancer in patients infected with these viruses. According to previous studies, selenium boosts immune system function and helps inhibit cancerous cell changes in liver cells exposed to known carcinogens. The researchers report that selenium levels were ?significantly lower? in those who developed liver cancer compared with those who did not develop cancer. According to the investigators, a previous study has suggested that vitamin E and selenium supplements taken in combination resulted in a 13% reduction in cancer mortality in a population with high rates of esophageal and stomach cancer.
American Journal of Epidemiology August 15,1999;150:367-374.
COMMENT: Selenium supplementation would be wise for most to consider. If one has mercury toxicity or hepatitis B or C, it is a no-brainer. One should be on this trace mineral. Please remember though that selenium has a low toxicity threshold, so more is not better and can actually cause problems. Ideally, it would also be useful to obtain organic forms of selenium, rather than inorganic like sodium selenite.