News & tips on health, fitness and nutrition

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Selenium Important for Skin Health

Selenium is a trace mineral with significant contribution to antioxidant activity. The primary dietary source of selenium is from plants. However, levels of selenium in plants are dependent on the selenium concentrations in the soil in which they are grown.


According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. In fact, over one million skin cancers are diagnosed annually and it is estimated that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime.


In a new study, investigators analyzed the possible correlation between serum levels of select antioxidant nutrients and the development of skin cancer. In this study, serum levels of carotenoids, alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E) and selenium were measured in 485 adults at the beginning of the study. The subjects were monitored for the incidence of basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma of the skin for 8 years.
The results showed that higher serum selenium concentrations were associated with decreased incidence of both basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma of the skin, and conversely, lower serum selenium concentrations were associated with increased incidence of both types of cancer. Furthermore, the subjects with the highest selenium levels had a decreased risk of basal cell tumors by 57 percent and decreased risk of developing squamous cell tumors by 64 percent, compared to subjects with the lowest levels. The study did not show a correlation between serum levels of carotenoids or alpha-tocopherol concentrations and incidence of basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma.


The researchers stated, “Relatively high serum selenium concentrations are associated with an approximately 60 percent decrease in subsequent tumor incidence of both basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, whereas serum concentrations of carotenoids or alpha-tocopherol are not associated with later skin cancer incidence.”

No comments: