IN HONOR OF NATIONAL BREAST CANCER AWARENESS MONTH
Selenium Discovered to Be The Most Protective Nutrient For Women’s Breast Health
Investigative Reporter, Gregory Ciola Interviews Health/Nutrition Historian And Book Author Christopher Barr
“The results for cancer prevention with 100 per cent Whole Food source selenium far exceeded any ever achieved with any other substance before or since whether drug, radiation, surgery, herb or nutrient.” – Christopher Barr
Every October we are inundated with pink ribbons and promotional campaigns designed to bring more attention to breast cancer awareness. No doubt this is a dreaded disease that has taken the lives of many grandmothers, mothers, daughters, sisters and close friends. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month we decided to feature one of the most powerful interviews we have ever conducted on this topic that can profoundly and positively make a huge impact on the lives of women.
Who is Christopher Barr you ask? Well, for starters, he has spent over four decades studying, writing, promoting and recommending whole food nutrition for better health. Barr is also the world’s foremost authority on the micronutrient selenium and the protective role it plays in our bodies. Barr is the author of the book, “Selenium – One Cancer Answer 100 Years and Counting.” His lifelong work on selenium has also afforded him the prestigious honor of speaking at the annual convention put on by the Cancer Control Society, so his words definitely carry weight and authority on the subject.
If you don’t want to become another victim of mutilated breasts, lost hair, or possibly even death due to breast cancer, then you need to hang on to every word Barr utters below in this powerful interview about selenium.
GC: Chris, tell our readers the fascinating details about the trace mineral selenium and why it performs such an important role in the body?
The element selenium is referred to as trace because the amount needed per day is such a tiny amount measured in micrograms – that is a matter of parts per million. However, that tiny amount does so much more than much larger amounts of other nutrients for so many body functions.
The primary important role of selenium is protective in nature. That is also the reason that makes it so difficult to get people to take it. Much of what selenium does you can’t feel while it is doing it, but if you don’t have it, then you will feel it later and you won’t like the feeling at all – especially if the feeling of dying of cancer is not a turn-on to you.
As to the protective nature of selenium, it is unequivocally the most protective of all nutrients. The biggest reason for this is that it is 50 times as potent an antioxidant as vitamin E. There are some other antioxidant nutrients as potent as selenium, but none of them function in as many areas as selenium, nor are they as easily available in the food supply or as inexpensive to obtain as a supplement. That is why I say that hands down selenium is unequivocally the most protective of all nutrients. There is more to selenium than protection though – much more.
GC: What are some of the symptoms that are caused by selenium deficiency?
Well, for starters, we could start right where life starts and where so many like for their life to continue as well. That would be fertility and sexual health. Selenium is concentrated in, and an important health factor for those organs related to beginning and maintaining life, such as a man’s prostate and a woman’s breasts.
More and more farmers are learning that if they don’t supplement their animal feed with selenium then they have problems with animals getting pregnant and bearing live, healthy offspring. It is very common when I speak on the subject of selenium in rural areas that some farmer will come up to me after to tell me of the importance of selenium to animal reproduction of which they have personal knowledge. To develop this thoroughly would take a whole interview all by itself.
Moving on we could just mention the areas that the U.S. government admits to about the importance of this mineral on their National Institutes of Health (NIH) website on selenium that prints out to 11 pages. This includes the thyroid where selenium may be more important than the mineral iodine that most usually think of when the subject of the thyroid is brought up. I’ve personally known many who have ceased to need thyroid medications they have taken for many years after establishing a hearty selenium supplementation routine for several months.
Heart disease is also prominently noted by NIH as an area of selenium importance, especially as related to low-density lipoproteins (LDL) that are commonly called the bad cholesterol.
Rheumatoid arthritis is another condition noted by NIH as an area of selenium importance.
I would insert here that another major study on selenium noted dramatic results regarding selenium and osteoarthritis – specifically as it relates to the knees. This was a long term, 15 year study with almost a thousand subjects involving major American academia and government institutions that noted “… severity of their arthritis was related to how low their selenium levels were.”
This was researched by the University of North Carolina in conjunction with UCLA, the University of Missouri-Columbia, the University of Maryland and the Centers for Disease Control. The study was presented at the annual American College of Rheumatology, reported on their website and submitted to the media by press releases. Somehow not one of the major, mainstream (polluted stream) media sources covered it.
The NIH website on selenium also noted its importance regarding “severe gastrointestinal problems, such as Crohn’s disease” as well as those “with surgical removal of part of the stomach” and additionally “other gastrointestinal disorders”.
How’s that just for starters? Dr. Gerhard Schrauzer noted the connection of selenium deficiency to Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Schrauzer has been a foremost expert on selenium for over half a century.
I haven’t even mentioned the most notable, documented, thoroughly researched selenium area which is the Big C – cancer. I’ll touch on that later although the dramatic successes of selenium with regard to cancer – both preventatively and as treatment — could take up a whole issue of your newspaper all by itself.
GC: Have any studies been done that validate the effectiveness of selenium?
Greg, you could fill up an entire one of your newspapers just listing the titles of the published studies that validate the effectiveness of selenium. The earliest information dates back over a century ago to 1911. Over 30 years ago an article titled ‘Can Selenium Modify Cancer Risk’ in the science journal ‘Nutrition Reviews’ listed more than 100 scientific citations in support of the positive assertions by the doctors who authored that paper clear back then. There have been countless studies since then.
GC: What role does selenium play with cancer?
The earliest roles for selenium with cancer were as a treatment as early as 1911. Very promising results were achieved with breast cancer treatment in the 1920s. Somehow modern medi$in ceased using this very inexpensive option after the 1920s.
Selenium research picked up again in the 1960s though primarily regarding cancer prevention. The results noted in this regard have been nothing short of astounding though these results rarely receive much fanfare, and even less attention from mainstream medical and media sources.
One double-blind, clinical study (what modern medi$in advocates as the “gold standard” for studies) on selenium supplementation of more than 10 years duration with more than 1,300 subjects reported 63 percent less prostate cancer, 57 percent less colon cancer, and 48 percent less lung cancer. Those are among the most common of all cancers. Total cancer incidence was more than 50 percent less among selenium supplement users than non-supplement users. The form of selenium used was a 100 per cent Whole Food source.
The results for cancer prevention with 100 per cent Whole Food source selenium far exceeded any ever achieved with any other substance before or since whether drug, radiation, surgery, herb or nutrient. The response from modern medi$in was decisively underwhelming. One criticism for not using less expensive — and much less effective – USP selenium such as selenate instead of the 100 percent Whole Food variety of selenium was published by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
There is a strong correlation to selenium blood levels and cancer incidence. The higher the blood levels of selenium the lower the cancer incidence. The lower the blood levels of selenium the higher the cancer incidence. You can graph it out on a nation by nation basis. The order of nation’s average blood selenium levels is almost identical to the order of nations’ cancer incidence with Japan the highest selenium blood levels and lowest cancer incidence, and the U.S. almost the lowest selenium blood levels and almost the highest cancer incidence.
U.S. medical and cancer society officials often crow about cancer occurring more due to increased average life spans. Yet the U.S. is only around 30th worldwide in average life span while most of the nations ahead of the U.S. in life span have lower cancer rates – and higher average selenium blood levels.
Research gives similar indications for those with almost all forms of cancer. Those with cancer who have the longest survival time and the least metastases (spreading of cancer) are those with higher blood selenium levels – though still having lower selenium levels than those who do not have cancer. Those with cancer who have the shortest survival time and the most metastases are those with the lowest blood selenium levels.
The response to this by U.S. medical and cancer researchers is to concentrate on toenail selenium levels rather than blood selenium levels which do not show much correlation to cancer incidence. This would be very funny if it were not so very tragic. This brings to mind a news story on a cancer study published about eight years ago.
There was a BIG build-up by the polluted mainstream media of Associated Press for this story about this drug study and its results before they even announced what the drug was or results were. The bold headline declared “cancer breakthrough found”. The opening line stated, “For the first time, doctors … have found a pill that improves survival for people with liver cancer.”
I have to interject here before going any further with this news/propaganda AP story that selenium has been noted for many decades to improve survival time as noted above. Also, as another “by the way,” selenium was specifically established as an essential nutrient for life by doctors at NIH for the liver in liver studies!
Returning to the recent AP puff piece results were reported “impressive and likely will change the way patients are treated.” Finally, the drug is named and results given of just a little more than 2 months extra survival. That is their major “breakthrough” that is “impressive and likely will change the way patients are treated”? The AP “once upon a time” story then goes on to quote doctors about these scant results “has never happened”, “a quite impressive gain” and “delaying the progression of the disease significantly and strikingly”.
This single study of a toxic drug was conducted for less than two years with barely 600 subjects for the scant results achieved. It is then noted that the control group, half not receiving the drug, was given the drug at the end of the trial.
A much more extensive study of the nutritional, essential trace element mineral selenium in a 100 percent whole food, grown variety was conducted for more than 10 years with greater than twice as many subjects (more than 1,300) resulting in the most dramatic cancer prevention results ever achieved in any cancer study with any substance whether nutrient, herb or drug. The control group, half not receiving the nutrient selenium, was not given the nutrient at the end of the trial but merely was told about it. Furthermore, it was noted that the essential mineral nutrient selenium could not be recommended until more studies (PLURAL) were conducted. Talk about your double standard.
In another study prior to that with 100 percent whole food selenium, it showed the vast majority of 140 terminal cancer patients still alive after four years! It was also reported about the current drug study that “tumors didn’t shrink or disappear”. The selenium study just noted above reported that all of the 140 terminal cancer patients had tumor regression!
It was noted about this recent drug study way down toward the end of the article that the lead author was consulted for the maker of the drug. Can you say “conflict of interest”? Selenium is so much more thoroughly researched regarding cancer with so much better results for so very much longer than any cancer drug used today.
GC: Where does the Mayo Clinic who is held in such prestigious honor among the medical community stand on selenium as a vital nutrient needed to lower breast cancer rates?
Some time ago the renowned Mayo Clinic announced that it was leading a nationwide breast cancer study. The stated aim was to find some kind of marker that indicated who was more likely to develop breast cancer. Two weeks later another report noted that the essential mineral element selenium may guard against breast cancer in the journal Cancer Research. One hope that University of Illinois at Chicago researchers doing this study had was to determine an amount of selenium for doctors to prescribe to protect against cancer.
Another two weeks after that another array of prominent cancer researchers noted their concern to find some kind of marker that gives advance warning of the likelihood of metastasis (the spread of cancer). Metastasis is said to be the cause of death in 90 percent of cancer deaths.
Selenium was first noted as a possible anti-cancer substance in 1910. Positive benefit from selenium as part of breast cancer treatment was reported in the British Journal of Medicine in 1935. Drs. Clayton and Bauman noted that selenium reduced cancer incidence by more than 30 percent in 1949. That report was made in the journal Cancer Research when it was less than 10 years old more than 50 years ago. That is the same journal referenced above that noted a possible selenium protection against breast cancer in recent years.
Less than 20 years later breast cancer was linked to low levels of selenium. This was noted by numerous researchers separate and apart from one another in a variety of science journals. Similar reports have surfaced every few years since then about selenium and breast cancer. Is anyone paying attention?
The Mayo Clinic effort was to seek biological indicators of those more likely to develop breast cancer. They were going to compare tissue specimens of women from 1967 and all the way through the 1970s. Similar studies were conducted during those very same years. It was noted then that American women had substantially less selenium in their tissues than other cultures where breast cancer was much lower. University of Illinois at Chicago researchers wanting to determine levels of selenium that might be necessary to protect against cancer would find that such levels were already discovered and published in the 1960s and 1970s as well – if they’d bother to look. Many other current researchers want to find a marker that indicates likelihood of the metastasis that is recognized as the primary cause of cancer deaths. Selenium again was noted as that factor in the late 1970s.
Dr. Gerhard Schrauzer and his colleagues found at that time that breast cancer deaths were directly proportionate to dietary intake of selenium. The lower the selenium intake the higher the rate of death from breast cancer. The higher the selenium intake the lower the rate of death from breast cancer. This was consistent throughout 27 countries (including the United States). Dr. Schrauzer noted more than 20 years ago that if every woman in America supplemented with 200 micrograms of selenium daily then breast cancer would be significantly diminished.
GC: Is there a link to cadmium and breast cancer?
The heavy metal cadmium was linked to breast cancer by researchers at Georgetown University according to a report in the journal Nature Medicine shortly after the announcement of the Mayo Clinic study previously noted. One researcher noted that the strength of the relationship for cadmium to breast cancer even at very low levels was remarkable and a surprise. It is remarkable that this surprises researchers. Selenium combines with cadmium to remove it from the body. The more cadmium you have in your body the more selenium will be used to dispel it from your body. Reduced selenium levels have been noted for decades to render one more susceptible to breast cancer.
Cadmium is a common air contaminant due to burning of fossil fuels. It is also abundant in shellfish, liver and kidney. Cigarette smoking is a significant source of cadmium as well. Consumption of refined flours and sugars also contribute to increased cadmium levels. Why don’t researchers put this puzzle together? Are they inept? Are they crooked? What other choices are there? Isn’t it way past time to promote selenium supplementation as the most prominent prevention for breast cancer?
Cancer is not a drug deficiency. It is primarily a dietary disorder due to both subtraction of nutrition and addition of toxic contents. This nation does not have a health care program. It has a sick care program. Almost all the money in the health “care” system goes into this sick care program. Much of it is given willingly by the sheeple in marathons, walk-a-thons and other fund-raising schemes and scams from false shepherds leading them down a primrose path. When will someone organize a fundraiser for nutrition programs? Would anyone contribute?
GC: Is there a history of government cover-up surrounding selenium?
Oh, yes, absolutely. The study previously mentioned with terminal cancer patients using selenium – in often very large amounts I would add – was at the Veterans Administration hospital in St. Louis, Missouri and reported at an annual VA meeting, but never published or promoted. The other study previously mentioned regarding cancer prevention and selenium that ended about fifteen years ago was dismissed by Dr. Peter Greenwald, M.D., Dr. PH, Director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Division of Cancer Prevention and Control with his remarks, “It’s one study with provocative findings that have to be confirmed.”
GC: Can you take too much selenium and is it toxic in high doses?
Well, Greg, first of all, you can get too much oxygen and it will burn your lungs up. So should people stop breathing? Selenium in a worst case scenario is not even as dangerous as oxygen can be. The Centers for Disease Control has on file the worst American case of human selenium toxicity from more than 25 years ago. It was due to a manufacturing error with a non-food grown supplementary source of selenium that also used the most toxic (cheapest) form of all forms of selenium.
The label said 200 micrograms per tablet but it actually contained more than 27,000 micrograms per tablet. A woman took that every day for almost three months. After about two weeks she began to experience hair loss and after two months had lost almost all her hair. She didn’t feel very good with flu-like symptoms and sour breath. Later a discharge from under her fingernails started. This woman on an outlandish amount of the worst form of selenium did not die. She was not even hospitalized. She just didn’t feel very good until she ceased taking the incredible quantity of selenium.
GC: What is the best dosage of selenium that should be taken?
That is very subjective. Let me offer you very subjective guidelines that are also very objective. Dr. Gerhard Schrauzer noted almost 30 years ago if every woman in America took 200 micrograms of supplementary selenium daily that breast cancer rates would rapidly decline in the space of a few short years. Dr. Schrauzer was professor emeritus from the University Of California San Diego School Of Medicine and has chaired two world conferences on selenium and cancer.
Not so coincidentally, the previously mentioned selenium-cancer prevention trial used 200 micrograms of selenium supplemented daily – and they didn’t use just any selenium supplement, but one that was a 100 percent whole food grown variety. There are other selenium studies with excellent results that have used this same amount. Common American diets provide 200 micrograms or less of selenium daily and usually less – usually much, much less. Average is around 50 micrograms daily. If you get the high end 200 micrograms of selenium in your diet – a very big IF – then 200 micrograms of selenium added by supplement would give you 400 micrograms daily.
The NIH website on selenium says specifically that a 400 microgram daily intake of selenium “is likely to pose no risk of adverse health effects in almost all individuals in the general population”.
As a further reference point, it was reported over 30 years ago that in Japan the average dietary intake of selenium exceeded 500 micrograms daily, and Japan has the lowest worldwide incidence of all the diseases associated with selenium deficiency – as well as one of the longest average life spans.
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is an old saying. A daily selenium supplement of 200 micrograms would take 40 years to reach just an ounce of prevention. It is not much. It is probably not even enough. It would be a good start and a refreshing change for women and men alike.
Continuing further – objectively – for those who have moved beyond the prevention stage there is the treatment experience of Dr. Robert Donaldson that was mentioned earlier. He found that 400 micrograms daily was a minimum amount at which blood selenium levels were increased and that it was rare that amount made a difference. Dr. Donaldson wrote in 1979, “We are now able, with nearly 100 percent regularity, to increase the blood levels by several fold by giving 1,000 to 2,000 micrograms of selenium daily and then dropping back to a maintenance dose.” Donaldson cited one case that required even larger amounts than that.
Several years back I received an e-mail from a reader who wrote that he had prostate cancer metastasized to the bone who put himself on 1,000 micrograms of selenium daily. “My PSA went from over 100 to 2.89 so I think I am on the right track,” he concluded in his e-mail. So how’s that for an introduction to selenium? There is so very, very much more to tell.
GC: Thank you for your hard work, time, and insights on this incredible nutrient and what you’re doing to spread true Breast Cancer Awareness.
Author: Gregory Ciola
Gregory Ciola began his publishing career in the year 2000 when he released a ground breaking book on the dangers of genetic engineering. The book’s title was, “GMOs – Beware of the Coming Food Apocalypse!”. Gregory Ciola was one of the first biotech whistle blowers in the natural food industry to alert the public to what was happening to a majority of our foods. Ciola also began publishing a hard-hitting national newsletter in 2001 called “CRUSADOR” that was renamed in 2015 to “The Investigator’s Report”. He is best known for his in-depth interviews with well known book authors and leading health experts.