Selenium Supplements Linked With Higher Risk Of Diabetes

Armen Hareyan's picture
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Selenium Supplements and Diabets

A new analysis of data from a large national study found that people who took a 200 microgram selenium supplement each day for almost eight years had an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes than those who took a placebo or dummy pill.

The data came from the Nutritional Prevention of Cancer Trial (NPC), a large randomized, multi-center, clinical trial from the eastern United States, designed to evaluate whether selenium supplements prevent skin cancer. In the study being published, researchers selected 1,202 participants who did not have diabetes when they were enrolled in the NPC Trial. Half received a 200 microgram selenium supplement and half received a placebo pill for an average of 7.7 years.

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Saverio Stranges, MD, PhD, lead author of the study, says that the findings from this study suggest that selenium supplements do not prevent diabetes and that they might be harmful. "At this time, the evidence that people should take selenium supplements is extremely limited. We have observed an increased risk for diabetes over the long term in the group of participants who took selenium supplements."

Dr. Stranges is currently working at Warwick Medical School, UK, but previously worked at the State University of New York at Buffalo. Other authors of the article include Mary E. Reid, PhD, and James R. Marshall, PhD, researchers at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo.

Selenium is a naturally occurring trace mineral present in soil and foods. The body need selenium in minute amounts to aid in metabolism. Selenium supplements are widely promoted on the Internet for conditions ranging from cold sores and shingles to arthritis and multiple sclerosis. They are sold to prevent aging, enhance fertility, prevent cancer and get rid of toxic minerals such as mercury, lead and cadmium.

Selenium supplements have shown some promise in preventing prostate cancer. Because of selenium

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