The Nutrition Intervention Trials conducted in the Linxian province in China yielded some of the first promising results linking selenium supplementation to the reduction of cancer incidence and mortality. The Linxian province at the time was characterized by a selenium-poor diet.
The treatment group that received selenium supplements was the group that showed significant health benefits of the supplementation:
- Significantly lower total mortality
- Significantly lower cancer mortality
- Significantly lower stomach cancer mortality
The reduced mortality rates began to become apparent already after 1 – 2 years of supplementation. The patterns for reductions in cancer incidence generally approximated the patterns for cancer mortality [Blot].
The Linxian study results were exciting because they were published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute and because they appeared before the results of the Nutritional Prevention of Cancer study in the United States [Clark].