Recent Blog Articles

In Brief: Selenium: Maybe this mineral isn't such a gem after all

October 01, 2007

In Brief

Selenium: Maybe this mineral isn't such a gem after all

The purpose of the Nutritional Prevention of Cancer trial was to test whether taking the mineral selenium might protect people against the two most common types of skin cancer. Taking the 200-microgram (mcg) pills daily flopped for skin cancer prevention, but when researchers started to poke around in the data looking for other effects, they made a pleasant discovery: Men who had taken the selenium pills seemed to gain some protection against prostate cancer. Compared with the placebo group, the selenium takers were 63% less likely to have developed the cancer.

Researchers can find some intriguing associations in any set of data if they rummage around enough. But results from a variety of other studies have burnished selenium's reputation as a prostate cancer preventative.

To continue reading this article, you must log in.

Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.

  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »

I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.

Sign Me Up

Already a member? Login ».


As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.