The Benefits of Selenium for Treating Cancer

Selenium and Chemotherapy

Selenium in combination with vitamin C and E make chemotherapy safer and more effective, because it is a great antioxidant, preventing the free radicals that occur as a result of the chemotherapy. By taking selenium, patients who are on chemotherapy have shown to have fewer side effects than those who do not take the supplement. Part of this is because chemotherapy actually reduces the amount of selenium in a person's body. Therefore, by taking the supplement, you are replacing what the chemotherapy has removed from your body. Another great benefit is because selenium binds to platinum and other heavy metals, which causes chemotherapy to be less toxic.

Not only does selenium help reverse the side effects of chemotherapy, but it also enhances the effectiveness of chemo, radiation, and hyperthermia, which Patrick Quillin points out in his bookBeating Cancer with Nutrition.

In one study of 62 women, they studied women with ovarian cancer averaging 50 years-old. They studied the side effects of chemotherapy and the effect selenium had as a result. They had a combination of several minerals such as beta-carotene, vitamin C and E, riboflavin, and niacin. One group had this combination with selenium, one group had them without selenium. For three months they took these once a day. Within the study, they tracked the severity of the person's side effects of chemo, markers of free radical activity within the body, as well as red and white blood cell counts.

The results showed the selenium group:

  • Had higher amounts of glutathione peroxidase in red blood cells, which indicates improved antioxidant activity
  • Had more neutrophils in white blood cells, which is responsible for fighting off infections
  • Experienced less nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, gas, mouth sores, weakness, hair loss, and malaise
  • Had better appetites
  • Had the same amount of diarrhea as other groups

In addition to helping those with chemotherapy, selenium helps slow the progression of cancer, as well as prevents the onset of it. There are so many great benefits to taking 200 mcg of selenium, that it should be part of our daily routine. If you do have cancer, then you should begin discussing with your doctor the benefits of taking selenium, especially if you will be treated with chemotherapy.

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