Wiley Logo Selenium does not reduce the threat of cancer, or at least the following piece of information suggests so. A Cochrane Systematic Review now concludes that consuming selenium supplements doesn’t protect from non-melanoma skin cancer or prostate cancer. In fact, selenium intake for a long period of time can seemingly have toxic effects.

In order to determine the effects of taking selenium supplements, scientists scrutinized 49 prospective observational studies and 6 randomized controlled trials. Data from observational studies pointed out that higher selenium intake can possibly provide a marginal protection from cancer. This beneficial effect appeared slightly greater for men than women.

However, the more carefully conducted randomized controlled trials claimed that selenium fails to safeguard from cancer. The results of the Nutritional Prevention of Cancer Trial and the Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial voiced concerns about the apparent harmful effects from long-term use of selenium supplements. Lead investigator Dr Gabriele Dennert of the Institute for Transdisciplinary Health Research, Berlin, Germany and colleagues mention that more investigations have to be conducted for analyzing selenium’s effect on liver cancer.

In conclusion, it was mentioned that regular intake of selenium supplements may not assist in cancer prevention.