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Image Source: / rakratchada torsap

Selenium And Its Important Role For Breast Cancer

I am ever on the outlook for research-based natural medicine that will help breast cancer patients and survivors and selenium plays an important role in the fight against breast cancer.

Selenium is always among the natural supplements I recommend to my coaching clients, I tell them it’s not to be missed.  I recently found some research that indicates (among other things) selenium can also help to reduce upper limb lymphedema following surgery and radiation.  Since some of my people are having trouble with lymphedema at the moment, I thought this research might be of interest.

The study authors did not elucidate how much selenium should be taken, nor what form, they merely stated “Selenium can reduce upper limb lymphedema following surgery and radiation treatments.” 1

More About Selenium

Selenium is an essential trace mineral, and research shows that those who have breast cancer have vastly reduced levels of selenium.

There are thousands of studies which indicate selenium’s usefulness for breast cancer (and indeed for many forms of cancer).  All you need to do is go to and put the words “selenium cancer” in the search field.  You will be rewarded with pages and pages of links to all kinds of studies.

If you don’t have time for that, however, allow me to just touch on the most important properties of selenium.

Selenium’s Main Benefits For Those With Breast Cancer, Survivors And Those Wishing To Avoid Breast Cancer

1.  Selenium activates the antioxidant glutathione, a critical and powerful antioxidant that helps neutralize free radicals inside cells. 2
2.  Selenium is an effective detoxifier of heavy metals.
3.  Selenium is a natural anti-inflammatory.  Since cancer is an inflammatory process, reducing inflammation is crucial. 3
4. Selenium helps to convert T4 (the prohormone thyroxine containing 4 molecules of iodine) into T3 (triiodothyronine, the bioactive thyroid hormone containing 3 molecules of iodine).  Many suffer thyroid problems prior to breast cancer – and they certainly do after conventional breast cancer treatments end.
5. Selenium helps to degrade excess hydrogen peroxide that can damage the cells.
6.  Selenium reverses chromosome breaks, important for women who carry the BRCA1 gene mutation.  When women with the BRCA1 mutation were given selenium for one to three months, the number of their chromosome breaks were greatly reduced. 4
7. Selenium plays an active role in bone health. 5
8. Selenium increases the effectiveness of the cancer drug docetaxel.  In the referenced study 6 selenium greatly increased the rate of apoptosis and cell cycle arrest, as well as decreasing cancer cell growth compared to the action of docetaxel on its own.
9. Selenium promotes a healthy immune system.
10. Selenium shuts down the cancer cell replication cycle.
11. Selenium plays a part in the biosynthesis of brain chemicals known as neurotransmitters – low levels of selenium are linked with an increased risk of dementia and senility (okay, so it doesn’t have to do with breast cancer, but who among us isn’t interested in keeping their brain healthy?!).

One of the best articles I have found written about selenium and how it works to protect us from cancer appears in the article “Selenium: What Forms Protect Against Cancer?” 7

Selenium should definitely be part of your daily arsenal against breast cancer.  You can get it by eating Brazil nuts and shellfish, but in this particular instance I believe you are much better off consuming it via a supplement.

There is one company, to my knowledge, making a supplement that contains all three forms of selenium (as discussed in the article mentioned above).  It’s not expensive, it’s called Super Selenium Complex and you can obtain it by clicking that link.  Recommended dosage: 200-400 mcg daily.


1.  Non-herbal nutritional supplements for symptom relief in adjuvant breast cancer: creating a doctor-patient dialogue –

2.  Glutathione peroxidase, selenium, and prostaglandin synthesis in platelets –

3.  The anti-inflammatory effects of selenium are mediated through 15-deoxy-Delta12,14-prostaglandin J2 in macrophages –

4.  Increased rates of chromosome breakage in BRCA1 carriers are normalized by oral selenium supplementation –

5.  Selenium in bone health: roles in antioxidant protection and cell proliferation –

6.  Effects of combination therapy of docetaxel with selenium on the human breast cancer cell lines MDA-MB-231 and MCF-7 —

7.  Selenium: What Forms Protect Against Cancer –

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The information provided on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional.  You should not use the information on this site for diagnosis or treatment of any health problem and please be sure to consult your health care professional when making decisions about your health.