Selenium and Longevity and Ageing

There are notable regional variations in the blood selenium concentrations in senior citizens. The differences range from 66 micrograms per liter in Brazil and Turkey to 126 micrograms per liter in Japan.  Below 85 micrograms per liter is poor selenium status.  The desirable range is thought to be 125-135 micrograms per liter.

We want, all of us, to stay as young and healthy as possible as late in life as possible.  Ageing is inevitable.  How can we delay the onset of ageing’s bio-chemical and physiological consequences?

  • Physical exercise?
  • Caloric restriction?
  • Ingestion of micronutrients?

Selenium Status and the Health of Senior Citizens

The authors of a 2019 review article have found that, overall, there is an inverse correlation between age and blood selenium levels. Higher age is associated with lower blood selenium concentrations [Robberecht 2019].

Inadequate dietary intakes of selenium and poor selenium status (< 85 micrograms per liter in blood) may increase the risk of following harmful health outcomes [Robberecht]:

  • oxidative stress (= imbalance of harmful free radicals and protective antioxidants)
  • destruction of nerve cells (neurons)
  • dementia

Selenium Status and Biological and Social Factors

A variety of factors must be taken into consideration when we investigate the relationship between ageing and selenium intake and status.  There are, first of all, considerable regional variations in the availability of selenium in the soil and in foodstuffs [Stoffaneller & Morse]. read more

Selenium For Cancer Treatment

Pre-clinical studies suggest that selenium supplementation in the right formulation and the right dosage may enhance the effects of chemotherapy for certain forms of cancer. Selenium may help to protect normal cells and tissues against the toxicities of chemotherapy drugs.  Selenium may enable the administration of higher than normal doses of the chemotherapy drugs.

Chemotherapy and radiation continue to be the major forms of treatment for many types of cancer. The considerable toxicity of these treatments to normal cells is a problem in cancer treatment and management.

Selenium’s Role in Cancer Prevention

Selenium supplementation has already been associated with statistically significant reductions in the risk of various cancers and pre-cancerous conditions:

Possible Role for Selenium in Cancer Treatment

Selenium supplementation may be valuable in the treatment of cancer as well as in the prevention of cancer.  Selenium has the ability to protect against the formation and progression of some cancer cells and also the ability to selectively target some existing cancer cells.

Moreover, it may be that selenium can work in synergy with conventional cancer therapies.  Pre-clinical research data suggest that selenium may in some instances protect normal cells and tissues against the toxic effects of conventional cancer treatments on the cells [Evans 2017]. read more