Adding selenium won’t aid cancer prevention

EVIDENCE from one million people participating in studies of selenium supplementation has shown it does not prevent cancer.

Fifty-five studies were included in the systematic review by the Cochrane collaboration.

“Currently, there is no convincing evidence that individuals, particularly those who are adequately nourished, will benefit from selenium supplementation with regard to their cancer risk,” reviewers said.

Meanwhile, a UK general practice trial of high-selenium yeast found supplements of 100–300 mcg/d modestly improved lipid profiles in volunteers aged 60–74 years. 

The clinical significance of the finding was unclear and it should not be used to justify the use of selenium supplementation for dyslipidaemia, the authors said.

Cochrane Database Syst Rev, DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD005195

Ann Intern Med 2011; 154:656-65