By Dr. Mercola

Magnesium is a mineral important to the health of every cell and organ in your body, especially your heart, kidneys and muscles. Symptoms of a deficiency can include unexplained fatigue or muscle weakness, abnormal heart rhythms, eye twitches and muscle spasms.

Unfortunately, determining a deficiency of magnesium from a simple blood sample isn’t possible, as only 1 percent of the magnesium in your body is found in your blood stream. Instead, most of your magnesium will be found stored in your bones and organs.

It is quite possible to be unaware of a deficiency, which is why it has been dubbed the “invisible deficiency.” Some researchers estimate that up to 80 percent of American do not get enough magnesium from their diet to replace the magnesium lost.1

Studies have also demonstrated that only 25 percent of U.S. adults are getting the recommended daily amount of 310 to 320 milligrams (mg) for women and 400 to 420 mg for men.2

Even more concerning to your overall health, these amounts are just enough to stop your body from experiencing the overt symptoms of a deficiency, but not enough to support optimal health.

Adequate Levels of Magnesium Linked to Improved Heart Health

In a recent study, researchers conducted a dose-response meta-analysis of over 40 studies with over 1 million participants, published between 1999 and 2016,3 looking for a correlation between magnesium intake and diabetes, cardiovascular disease (CVD) and all-cause mortality.

They found no significant association between increasing the intake of magnesium above 100 mg per day and the risk of CVD or congestive heart disease (CHD).4

However, the same increase in magnesium intake per day was linked with a 22 percent reduction in the potential risk of heart failure and a 7 percent decrease in the risk of stroke. The increase in magnesium was also linked to a 10 percent drop in the risk of death from all causes and a 19 percent drop in the potential risk of diabetes.5

While the analysis was based on observational studies and did not prove a direct link, researchers wrote that the results of their meta-analysis supported the theory that increasing your daily dietary intake of magnesium may provide you with overall health benefits.6

A deficiency of magnesium at the cellular level can lead to a deterioration of metabolic and mitochondrial function at the cell level, and lead to more serious health problems.

Although a mineral, magnesium also functions as an electrolyte, crucial in electrical activity throughout your body.7 Without healthy levels of electrolytes, such as calcium, magnesium or potassium, electrical signals throughout your body aren’t sent and received properly, affecting your heart, brain and muscle function.

Cardiovascular Health Has a Significant Public Health Impact

Cardiovascular diseases claim more lives than all forms of cancer combined.8 In the U.S., someone has a heart attack every 42 seconds and someone dies every 60 seconds from a cardiovascular disease.9 The impact of CVD is not limited to your health and finances, but creates a large cost to the community and your employer.

Immediate costs include hospitalization, ambulance, diagnostic tests and immediate treatments, including surgery. Long-term costs include drugs, time off work and cardiac rehabilitation. The combined direct and indirect costs were estimated to be $444 billion in 2010, or $1 of every $6 spent on healthcare.10

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in women, killing more than 289,000 in 2013, or accounting for approximately 1 of every 4 deaths.11 Although it is sometimes thought of as a man’s problem, approximately the same number of men and women die from CVD each year.

Unfortunately, symptoms in women are less obvious than they are in men, with 64 percent of women who die from CVD having no previous symptoms.12

Magnesium May Be Key to Controlling Your Blood Pressure

One in every 3 adults in America suffers from hypertension, or high blood pressure.13 Having high blood pressure increases your risk of having heart disease and stroke, and only half of people with hypertension have their condition under control.14

Magnesium has a direct effect on the relaxation of vascular smooth muscle and the regulation of ions important to blood pressure control. Hypertension is labeled the “silent killer” as there are usually no symptoms of the condition or warning signs.

A meta-analysis funded by the Indiana University School of Medicine Strategic Research Initiative made a direct link between those who were deficient in magnesium and hypertension.15

Lead author, Dr. Yiqing Song, associate professor of epidemiology at Indiana University, noted:16

“With its relative safety and low cost, magnesium supplements could be considered an option for lower high blood pressure in high-risk persons or hypertension patients.

Consistent with previous studies, our evidence suggests that the anti-hypertensive effect of magnesium might be only effective among people with magnesium deficiency or insufficiency.

Such suggestive evidence indicates that maintenance of optimal magnesium status in the human body may help prevent or treat hypertension.”

Since approximately 80 percent of Americans are deficient in magnesium and 33 percent suffer from hypertension, balancing your magnesium levels may be the strategy you need to prevent the development of hypertension.

As blood pressure is related to the relative stiffness of your arteries, it is important to note blood levels of magnesium are also associated with coronary artery calcification (CAC).17

Past studies demonstrated this association in patients suffering from chronic kidney disease, but this study found the same correlation in an otherwise healthy population. Participants in this study were without signs of CVD.

Those with the highest serum level of magnesium enjoyed a 48 percent lower risk of hypertension, 69 percent lower risk of type 2 diabetes and a 42 percent lower risk of an elevated CAC score.

Magnesium Is Essential to Overall Health

In this short video you’ll discover some of the more common symptoms of magnesium deficiency. However, don’t rely on experiencing these symptoms before evaluating lifestyle choices that deplete your magnesium stores and dietary choices that may not provide you with enough daily magnesium.

Magnesium is involved in over 600 different reactions in your body, and so is important to your overall health. Other cardiovascular benefits of magnesium include reducing your potential risk for atherosclerosis, or thickening and stiffening of the arterial walls.19

Low levels of magnesium have been associated with the risk of developing fatal cardiac arrhythmias. There are several different types of arrhythmias, but each have an abnormal electrical conduction that governs your heart rate and heartbeat.20

Optimal levels of magnesium may also reduce your potential risk for developing painful and debilitating migraine headaches.21 In fact, some studies suggest magnesium can help prevent and treat migraine headaches.22,23

Magnesium plays an essential role in brain function and mood stabilization. Low levels of magnesium are connected with depression as well.24 Magnesium is important to your metabolism and has a significant impact on type 2 diabetes. Some experts believe that up to 48 percent of people suffering from diabetes are magnesium deficient.25

Low magnesium levels also affect insulin resistance, important in metabolic syndrome and a precursor to type 2 diabetes.26 High levels of insulin in the blood, common with insulin resistance, lead to further loss of magnesium.27

Lifestyle Choices That Deplete Magnesium

In this short video Dr. Carolyn Dean discusses magnesium deficiency and the effect it has on your health. One of the primary reasons for a magnesium deficiency is a diet rich in processed foods. Heat and processing depletes magnesium from real foods. Experts believe low levels of magnesium may be the result of low levels found in food.28

Magnesium is also lost through sweating during heavy exertion, as a result of lack of sleep and alcohol consumption. Certain drugs tend to reduce the amount of magnesium in your body, such as statins, fluoride and fluoride containing drugs.29

Unfortunately, there is no easy blood test to determine your magnesium levels. Some specialty labs do provide an RBC magnesium test that can give you a reasonable estimate, but the test is costly and not all labs can do the testing. Serum levels of magnesium are not a good indication of whether your muscles and bones have enough magnesium for optimal health. Perhaps the best way to determine your status is to carefully evaluate and track your symptoms.

Symptoms of low levels of magnesium are related to the functions the mineral plays in your body. Muscle spasms, insulin resistance, heart arrhythmias, low energy and high blood pressure are some of the signs and symptoms of magnesium insufficiency.30 Muscle spasms present as a “Charlie horse,” or spasm in your calf muscle, that happens when you stretch your leg.

An increased number of migraines or headaches, loss of appetite and fatigue are other early signs of magnesium deficiency. More chronic and serious symptoms include abnormal heart rhythms, coronary spasms and seizures, as well as changes in personality and behavior.

Optimize Magnesium Through Healthy Dietary Choices

To optimize your magnesium level, be sure to eat plenty of magnesium-rich foods, such as:

Spinach

Swiss chard

Turnip greens

Beet greens

Collard greens

Broccoli

Brussels sprouts

Kale

Bok choy

Romaine lettuce

Raw cacao nibs

Unsweetened cocoa powder

Avocado

Raw seeds: Pumpkin, sesame and sunflower have the highest

Raw nuts: Cashews, almonds and Brazil nuts are the best sources

Squash

Fatty fish: Wild-caught Alaskan salmon and mackerel are the best sources

Fruits and berries: Papaya, raspberry, tomato and strawberries rank high

Balance A Magnesium Supplement With Calcium, Vitamin D3 and Vitamin K2

Since magnesium is inexpensive, safe and readily available, you may want to consider supplementation. There are also instances when supplementation is particularly advisable:31

  • You have suffered or are at risk of a heart attack
  • You have experienced ventricular arrhythmia
  • You have had or are planning heart transplant or open heart surgery
  • You are taking diuretics
  • You have hypertension or congestive heart failure

There are several considerations if you choose to take a supplement as it is easy to end up with lopsided nutrient ratios. In general, most real foods have most of the cofactors and other nutrients in the correct ratios. It is important to maintain the proper balance between vitamin K2, vitamin D, magnesium and calcium. Considerations include:

  • The ideal ratio between magnesium and calcium is currently thought to be 1-to-1. Keep in mind that since you're likely getting far more calcium from your diet than you are magnesium, your need for supplemental magnesium may be two to three times greater than calcium.
  • Vitamin K2 (MK7 form) has two crucial functions, one is in cardiovascular health and the other is in bone restoration. By removing calcium from the lining of the blood vessels and shuttling it into your bone matrix, vitamin K2 helps prevent occlusions from atherosclerosis. Meanwhile, vitamin D helps optimize calcium absorption. 
  • Vitamins D and K2 also work together to produce and activate Matrix GLA Protein (MGP), which congregates around the elastic fibers of your arterial lining, thereby guarding your arteries against calcium crystal formation. Magnesium and vitamin K2 also complement each other, as magnesium helps lower blood pressure, which is an important component of heart disease. 
  • While the ideal or optimal ratios between vitamin D and vitamin K2 have yet to be determined, Dr. Kate Rheaume-Bleue (whom I've interviewed on this topic) suggests taking 100 micrograms (mcg) of K2 for every 1,000 to 2,000 international units (IUs) of vitamin D you take. 

I strongly recommend getting your vitamin D level tested twice a year (summer and winter) to help determine your personal recommended dosage. Sensible sun exposure is the ideal way to optimize your levels, but if you opt for a supplement, your "ideal dosage" is one that will put you into the therapeutic range of 40 to 60 nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml).





Related Articles:

  Benefits of Magnesium is Far Greater Than Previously Imagined

  Magnesium — A Key Nutrient for Health and Disease Prevention

  Magnesium Deficiency May Result in a Shorter Life

 Comments (17)

By Dr. Mercola

The Mediterranean diet is one that has managed to maintain popularity through changing fads, and for good reason. A number of studies have confirmed its health benefits — most of which are likely due to it being low in sugars, moderate in protein and high in fresh fruits and vegetables, along with healthy fats.

Contrary to popular belief, there's actually no single "Mediterranean diet." At least 16 countries border the Mediterranean Sea, and dietary habits vary from country to country due to differences in culture, ethnic background, religion and agricultural production.

That said, a primary hallmark of a Mediterranean-style diet is a focus on whole, minimally processed foods. The emphasis on fresh vegetables alone makes it far healthier than the standard American diet, which is very high in processed foods.

Health Benefits Associated With a Mediterranean-Style Diet

Eating a Mediterranean-style diet has been linked to a number of health benefits, including:

Prevention and/or reversal of metabolic syndrome, a cluster of risk factors for heart disease and diabetes.

One review of 35 clinical trials found it helped reduce belly fat and high blood pressure, elevate HDL cholesterol and improve blood sugar levels, compared to those who ate a low-fat diet.1

Improved cardiovascular health and a significantly reduced risk of stroke — effects linked to higher amounts of animal-based omega-3 fats (primarily from fish).2,3

According to recent research, marine animal-based omega-3 may lower your risk of heart disease even if you're already at increased risk due to high levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and/or triglycerides.4,5

Higher levels of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) from seafood or supplements was associated with a 16 percent lower risk of heart disease in those with high triglycerides, and a 14 percent reduced risk in those with high LDLs.

Reduced risk of acne in adult women. According to recent research, adult women who ate fresh fruits, vegetables and fish less than four days a week had double the risk of adult acne.6,7

Reduced risk of rheumatoid arthritis,8 Parkinson's, Alzheimer's disease and cancer.9

Improved overall health and longevity. In one study, women who closely followed a Mediterranean-style diet in their 50s and 60s were 46 percent more likely to live past the age of 70 without chronic illness or cognitive problems.10

Mediterranean Diet Linked to Healthier Brain

Overall, the Mediterranean diet is one of the best conventional diets for brain and heart health. For example, research has shown diets rich in healthy fats from nuts, avocados and olive oil may boost memory and cognition in older adults.11,12

Previous research has also suggested a Mediterranean diet may lower your odds of Alzheimer's disease, but it wasn't clear whether the diet was responsible, or if people who eat this way also make many other healthier lifestyle choices that decrease their risk.

In an effort to shed more light on the potential links between diet and cognition, the researchers randomly assigned nearly 450 seniors with risk factors for cardiovascular disease — such as overweight, high blood pressure and/or high cholesterol — to follow one of three diets:13,14

  • A Mediterranean diet supplemented with 1 liter of extra virgin olive oil per week
  • A Mediterranean diet supplemented with 30 grams of nuts a day
  • A low-fat diet

Brain function tests were conducted before and after the study. Those following a Mediterranean diet with supplemental nuts showed significant improvement in memory, while those who got supplemental olive oil experienced significantly improved cognition.

The low-fat group, on the other hand, experienced a significant decrease in both memory and cognitive function.

Older Adults Suffer Less Brain Shrinkage on Mediterranean Diet

More recently, scientists found that a Mediterranean-style diet also helps reduce age-related brain shrinkage in older adults. As reported by the LA Times:15

"In a group of 562 Scots in their 70s, those whose consumption patterns more closely followed the Mediterranean diet experienced, on average, half the brain shrinkage that was normal for the group as a whole over a three-year period …

The researchers used the food-frequency surveys to divide the group into two — those who at least approximated a Mediterranean-style diet and those who came nowhere close.

Even though many in the Med-diet group were far from perfect in their adherence, the average brain-volume loss differed significantly between the two groups."

Your Brain Needs Healthy Fats for Optimal Function

Results such as these certainly make sense when you consider how important healthy fats are for your brain function. After all, your brain is composed of at least 60 percent fat — the most important of which is DHA, found in seafood such as clean fish and krill oil. That said, it's important to choose your seafood wisely.

What you're looking for are fish high in healthy fats, such as omega-3, while also being low in mercury and other environmental pollutants. Good choices include smaller fatty fish like sardines, anchovies and herring.

As a general rule, the lower on the food chain the fish is, the less likely it is to contain harmful levels of contaminants. Many of these smaller fish also contain higher amounts of omega-3, so it's a win-win. Wild-caught Alaskan salmon is another healthy choice. If you avoid fish, it's important to take a high-quality omega-3 supplement such as krill oil.

Besides fish, other examples of beneficial fats that your body (and your brain in particular) needs for optimal function include avocado, organic grass-fed raw butter, clarified butter called ghee, olives, organic virgin olive oil and coconut oil, nuts like pecans and macadamia and free-range eggs.

It's also important to avoid sugars and processed grains. Research from the Mayo Clinic shows diets rich in carbohydrates are associated with an 89 percent increased risk for dementia, while high-fat diets are associated with a 42 percent reduced risk.16

Omega-3 Is Important for Other Psychiatric Conditions as Well

Animal-based omega-3 in combination with vitamin D has also been shown to improve cognitive function and behavior associated with certain psychiatric conditions, including ADHD, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia — in part by regulating your brain's serotonin levels.17,18,19

The omega-3 fat EPA reduces inflammatory signaling molecules in your brain that inhibit serotonin release from presynaptic neurons, thereby boosting your serotonin levels. DHA — which is an important structural component of your brain cells — also has a beneficial influence on serotonin receptors by increasing their access to serotonin.

Other diets shown to be particularly beneficial for brain health include the DASH and the MIND diets,20 the latter of which emphasizes fruits and vegetables, especially leafy greens and berries, whole grains, nuts, olive oil, beans, poultry and fish, while limiting red meat, cheese, butter, sweets and fried foods.

What these three diets have in common is an emphasis on whole foods, particularly fresh fruits and vegetables, and at least SOME healthy fats. Considering the importance of eating real food, it's not so surprising that the DASH diet, Mediterranean diet and MIND diet rank No.1, 2 and 3 respectively as the best overall diets for good health, according to a panel of health experts.21

Benefits of the DASH Diet

The DASH diet in particular has been shown to be quite effective for lowering your risk of hypertension. However, I believe the real reason for this effect is not due to the reduction in salt but rather the reduction in processed foods, which is high in fructose.22,23 As your insulin and leptin levels rise in response to net carbs, it causes your blood pressure to increase.

Excess fructose promotes hypertension to a far greater degree than excess salt. One 2010 study24 discovered that those who consumed 74 grams or more per day of fructose (the equivalent of about 2.5 sugary drinks) had a 77 percent greater risk of having blood pressure levels of 160/100 mmHg (stage 2 hypertension). Consuming 74 grams or more of fructose per day also increased the risk of a 135/85 blood pressure reading by 26 percent, and a reading of 140/90 by 30 percent.

Elevated uric acid levels are also significantly associated with hypertension (by inhibiting nitric oxide in your blood vessels), and fructose elevates uric acid. In fact, uric acid is a byproduct of fructose metabolism. So, by eliminating excess sugar and fructose from your diet, you effectively address root issues that contribute to high blood pressure.

I recommend keeping your total fructose consumption below 25 grams per day. If you're insulin resistant (about 80 percent of Americans are), have high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease or other chronic disease, you'd be wise to limit your fructose to 15 grams or less per day, until your condition has normalized.

As for the issue of salt (which the DASH diet restricts), it's important to realize that salt is actually essential for maintaining and regulating blood pressure. The key is to use the right kind of salt. Ideally, replace all processed table salt with a natural unprocessed version, such as Himalayan salt, which contains a variety of trace minerals your body actually needs.

Part of the DASH diet's effectiveness for hypertension may also have to do with the fact that it focuses on vegetables, which helps improve your sodium-to-potassium ratio. Your body needs potassium to maintain proper pH levels in your body fluids, and it plays an integral role in regulating your blood pressure. It's actually possible that potassium deficiency may be a greater contributor to hypertension than excess sodium (but not likely a greater factor than fructose). 

Mediterranean Diet May Cut Your Heart Disease Risk by Nearly One-Third

The importance of healthy fats cannot be overstated in my view. Fats are important for so many biological processes, especially those related to your brain and heart function. In the case of the latter, a Spanish trial,25 which included nearly 7,450 volunteers between the ages of 55 and 80, was stopped early for ethical reasons as the low-fat control group was deemed to be at a dangerous disadvantage.

The participants had all been diagnosed with high risk of cardiovascular disease, but were asymptomatic at the outset of the study. Participants were followed for a median of 4.8 years. The volunteers were randomly divided into three groups (two intervention groups and one control):

  • Mediterranean diet rich in fresh vegetables, fruits, seafood, whole grains and mono-unsaturated fats, very low in meat and dairy and supplemented with 30 grams (1.05 ounces) of nuts per day (15 grams walnuts, 7.5 grams almonds and 7.5 grams hazelnuts)
  • Mediterranean diet (as above) supplemented with 50 milliliters (1.7 ounces) of virgin olive oil per day instead of nuts
  • Low-fat diet (control)

There were no calorie restrictions for any of the groups, nor was physical activity promoted or required. Compliance with olive oil and nut consumption was tested via blood and urine analysis. The primary end point was a composite of myocardial infarction, stroke and death from cardiovascular causes. Secondary end points were stroke, myocardial infarction, death from cardiovascular causes and death from any cause.

Remarkably, in less than five years, the two intervention groups achieved a 30 percent relative risk reduction for cardiovascular disease, and stroke reduction was an impressive 49 percent. No wonder they felt the trial had to be stopped for ethical reasons!

Sadly, low-fat diets remain among the most accepted diets in the medical community, both for weight management and cardiac health. There's no telling how many millions of people have prematurely died from this fatally flawed and scientifically-refuted advice.

Are You Eating Enough Fish?

According to the latest report26 by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Americans increased their seafood consumption by nearly 1 pound per person in 2015, to an average of 15.5 pounds per year, or just over 4.75 ounces per week.

That's the largest increase in seafood consumption in two decades, yet we still fall short of dietary recommendations, which call for 8 ounces of seafood per week. Ideally, aim for two to three servings of fish like salmon or sardines, anchovies, mackerel and herring each week, to obtain healthy levels of omega-3. Avoid canned tuna, mackerel, swordfish, grouper, marlin, orange roughy, snapper and halibut, as they have some of the highestlevels of contamination.

For more information about mercury in fish, see the Mercury Policy Project's website, "Mercury and Fish: The Facts."27 They have a helpful guide you can print out for reference.28 A 2015 article in Investigate West also addressed this issue, and includes a guide to how many meals per week you can safely eat based on any given seafood's contamination level.29

Why Higher Fish Consumption Is Likely Part of Mediterranean Diet's High Success Rate 

Besides omega-3 fats and other valuable nutrients, fish is also a good source of high-quality protein. However, most fish contain only HALF of the protein found in beef and chicken, and this is actually a very good thing. While we do need protein for muscle, bone and hormone health, eating more than your body actually needs can stimulate your mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) — a pathway that plays an important role in many cancers, among other things.

In fact, Valter Longo, Ph.D.,30 — a professor of biological science at the University of California and a well-known longevity researcher — believes the reduced protein content in fish may be one reason why the Mediterranean diet is linked to life extension and reduced risk for chronic disease. In essence, those who eat more fish than red meat automatically get far less protein, thereby preventing the excessive stimulation of mTOR.

For Health and Longevity, Be Sure to Optimize Your Omega-3

If you do not eat this amount of fish on a weekly basis, consider taking a daily omega-3 supplement such as krill oil. As for dosage, the amount of omega-3s you need depends on your body size, age, health status, the type of omega-3 and more. Your best bet is to get an omega-3 index test. This test measures the omega-3 in your red blood cells, which is really the only way to determine if you're getting enough from your diet or supplements. Your index should be above 8 percent.

While there's no set recommended standard dose of omega-3 fats, some health organizations recommend a daily dose of 250 to 500 milligram (mg) of EPA and DHA for healthy adults. Higher amounts (upwards of 1,000 to 2,000 mg of EPA and DHA daily) are typically recommended for the prevention of memory loss, depression and heart disease.

If you're pregnant or breastfeeding, your body will likely require additional omega-3 fats. The American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada recommend pregnant and lactating women (along with all adults) consume at least 500 mg of omega-3s, including EPA and DHA, daily.

Other Vital Reasons Why Mediterranean-Style Diet Is a Good Choice

Aside from the important dietary components mentioned above, there are at least three other lifestyle factors that contribute to the benefits achieved by those actually living in the Mediterranean countries. The obvious one is that these are subtropical countries and most people are able to achieve a healthy level of sun exposure, as the opportunities to go outside with minimal clothing on are far more frequent than for most of us living in the U.S.

The other two are related in that they are social variable. There is less reliance on cars and automated tasks that allow them to walk and be more active and mobile than many of us in the U.S. Additionally, there is an important social component to most meals that is typically not encountered in the U.S.

Is There Something Better Than the Mediterranean Diet?

If you are healthy and have an ideal body fat percentage, then the dietary choices discussed above are a sound choice, especially if you integrate the other variables discussed in the section above. 

But the sad reality is that well over 80 percent of those in the U.S. do not fit this profile, as they are either overweight, have cancer, heart disease, diabetes, autoimmune or neurodegenerative diseases. If this applies to you or someone you love, then I firmly believe you need to teach your body to burn fat as its primary fuel before you engage in this type of diet.

My new book, "Fat for Fuel," discusses how to radically limit your carb and protein intake while integrating periods of feast and famine cycling, which will help your body regain its ability to burn fat as its primary fuel. Once you normalize your weight and other conditions, and your body has regained the capacity to burn fat as your primary fuel, then it makes loads of sense to shift to a Mediterranean diet.





Related Articles:

  More Proof That Nuts Are Part of a Healthy Diet

  How to Eat Your Way to a Healthier Heart

  Mediterranean Diet Linked to Healthier Brain

 Comments (94)

By Dr. Mercola

The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2017 there will be 1.68 million new cancer cases and over 600,000 deaths.1 This means three new cases and one death every minute of every day. The top five cancers diagnosed are estimated to be breast, lung, prostate, colorectal and melanoma, in that order.

The link between obesity and cancer, and the high number of insulin receptors on cancer cells2 make sugar and a high-carbohydrate diet a significant risk for developing cancer.

A recent study from Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center demonstrated a significant link between sugar and some cancers, especially breast cancer.3

As it is estimated that breast cancer will be diagnosed more than any other cancer in 2017, and the amount of sugar in a standard Western diet only continues to grow, it is very important to evaluate your dietary choices to reduce your risk and improve successful treatment.

Interestingly, a recent study from Ruhr University in Germany has identified a positive effect of the spicy molecule in chili peppers against some of the more aggressive forms of breast cancer.4

Not All Breast Cancers Are the Same

Regardless of race or ethnicity, breast cancer is the most common form of cancer diagnosed. However, with recent breakthroughs in the ability to identify genetic markers in cancer cells, scientists have been able to categorize different types of breast cancer and also design more effective treatment protocols.

Although referred to as a single disease, breast cancer is categorized by where it is found and the type of cells in the tumor. Important to both diagnosis and treatment are the site of the tumor (if it is found in the ducts or lobules of breast tissue), whether it is in the walls or has become invasive, and the reproductive status of the woman.5

Biological markers are also used to evaluate treatment options and prognosis. These markers include Luminal A, Luminal B, triple negative and HER2 types. The most aggressive of these subtypes is the triple negative cell type. The name is derived from the tumor cells being progesterone, estrogen and HER2 receptor negative.6

Within the triple negative subtype, there are also several subsets. Between 15 percent and 20 percent of all breast cancers diagnosed are triple negative, tending to occur most often in younger women and African American women.7

The majority of cancers that develop in women with the gene mutation BRCA1 are both triple negative and basal-like. Recent research tested this most aggressive subtype of breast cancer, triple negative, basal-like tumors.

Cancer Cells Succumb to Capsaicin

The active ingredient in hot chili peppers is capsaicin, which is what makes your mouth burn and gives the peppers their pungent odor. According to recent research, capsaicin also inhibits the growth of breast cancer cells.8

Using the aggressive triple negative breast cancer cells, researchers carried out experiments to determine the effect of capsaicin on the tumor cells.

The team first confirmed the presence of olfactory receptors on the tumor cells called Transient Receptor Potential Channels (TRPV1), which are normally activated by capsaicin and the scent of a fresh ocean breeze. Next, they activated these receptor cells by adding capsaicin to the cell cultures for several hours to several days.9

As a result, the tumor cells began dividing much more slowly and began to die in large numbers.10 The surviving cells also lost the ability to move quickly and reduced the ability to metastasize or develop secondary growths away from the primary site.

Past studies had demonstrated the antiproliferative activity of capsaicin, but the molecular basis to induce cell death had not been identified.11

Existing research had also suggested that transient receptor potential (TRP) channels played a significant role in influencing cancer cell growth. One of those receptor channels were olfactory, TRPV1.

The goal of this latest study was to investigate how the expression of TRP channels in breast cancer tissue could influence cell growth, and how it may be used in treatment protocols. Dr. Lea Weber, co-author of the study, commented:12

"In this study, we aimed to identify the TRP channels in different breast cancer subtypes and to investigate the effect of TRPV1 ligand on breast cancer progression.

To our knowledge, no studies have yet conducted a large-scale comparative study of the TRP channels expression profiles in breast cancer cell lines.

In our experiments, a significant reduction in cell proliferation after capsaicin stimulation was observed. This finding was in accordance with the results of other scientists, who demonstrated a significant decrease in the cell growth rate of MCF-7 breast cancer cells upon capsaicin stimulation."

Combining Ginger and Chili Peppers May Boost Anti-Cancer Activity

While capsaicin alone is a powerful molecule, in combination with 6-gingerol found in raw ginger root, it becomes even more important to your health. In a recent study, researchers discovered mice who were prone to lung cancer experienced a reduction in diagnosis when fed a combination of capsaicin and 6-gingerol.13

Together the chemicals had an increased ability to bind to a receptor that is responsible for tumor cell growth. This ability reduced the potential for developing lung cancer in the experimental animals. During the study, researchers fed one group just capsaicin, another just 6-gingerol and the third a combination of the two.

While under observation, all of the mice who received capsaicin developed lung tumors, half of the mice who received 6-gingerol developed lung tumors but only 20 percent of the mice who were given the combination developed cancer.14

However, even on their own, both ginger and capsaicin have powerful health effects. Ginger has a long history of calming nausea15 related to surgery,16 morning sickness17 and chemotherapy.

The anti-inflammatory properties have given many people relief with the pain of osteoarthritis.18 As ginger also increases the motility of your gastrointestinal tract, it has been used for the treatment of chronic indigestion.19

Significantly reducing pain associated with menstrual disorders,20 lowering cholesterol levels21 and improving brain function22 are other health benefits associated with ginger.

Capsaicin has a long list of benefits as well, including inhibiting pain transmission that can help prevent headaches and prevent inflammation in your body.23 Chili peppers also have more vitamin C than oranges, to help support your immune system.24

Diet and Nutrition Influences Cancer

Having battled cancer himself, Dr. Gary Fettke came to realize the influence of nutrition on cancer, and the importance of eating a diet high in healthy fats and low in net carbohydrates (total carbs minus fiber, i.e. non-fiber carbs).

In this video, Fettke explains the metabolic model of cancer and how you can use this knowledge to prevent abnormal growths and help treat those which may have already occurred.

Simply put, scientists have thought that genetic defects typically were responsible for cancer. However, these changes actually occur after mitochondrial damage has been done. This dysfunction is at the core of all diseases, putting your mitochondria at the center of any wellness or disease prevention strategies.

Your mitochondria produce energy aerobically in the cell. In the presence of oxygen, cancer cells over produce lactic acid, normally produced in anaerobic activity. Called the Warburg Effect after Dr. Otto Warburg, this activity indicates that cancer cells are fed by sugar and unable to use fat for fuel. Normal cells have the flexibility to use either sugar or fats, but cancer cells are limited to primarily sugar.

Since cancer can be accurately classified as a mitochondrial metabolic disease, the good news is you can optimize your mitochondrial function through lifestyle choices, thus reducing your potential for developing cancer, or to help improve treatment success.

The inflammatory process is a major driver of disease, and several of the key culprits of increasing this response are polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs), trans fats, artificial ingredients and sugar in all forms, including refined grains and high-fructose corn syrup. As you reduce the amount of net carbs you eat, you drive down inflammation, and when inflammation disappears, your body can heal.

Cancer requires glucose for fuel, and building materials from surrounding cells to continue to thrive. The process cancer uses to invading surround tissue is known as the Reverse Warburg Effect, relying on hydrogen peroxide generation triggered by oxygen free radicals and water. Fettke explains these processes in the featured video. Understanding these concepts presents a new set of cancer prevention and treatment strategies.

Strategies That May Prevent Cancer

Cancer screening is often portrayed as the best form of "prevention" you can get against various forms of cancer. But early diagnosis is not the same as prevention. And some forms of cancer screenings do more harm to your health than good. I believe the vast majority of all cancers could be prevented by strictly applying basic, common-sense healthy lifestyle strategies, which includes the following:

Eat Real Foods

Avoid processed foods and sugar to avoid feeding cancer cells. Limit or eliminate PUFA oils and trans fats. Limit protein to 0.5 gram of protein per pound of lean body mass. Increase your fresh organic vegetables (antioxidant intake) to counteract free radical damage and increase your fat from high quality organic sources such as avocado, raw butter, seeds, nuts and cacao nibs.

Stop Eating at Least Three Hours Before Bed

There is compelling evidence demonstrating that fueling your mitochondria at a time when they don't need it increases leakage of a large number of electrons that liberates reactive oxygen species (free radicals), damaging mitochondria and eventually nuclear DNA.25

There is also evidence to indicate that cancer cells uniformly have damaged mitochondria, so the last thing you want to do is eat before you go to bed.26

Optimize Your Vitamin D Level

Vitamin D influences virtually every cell in your body and is one of nature's most potent cancer fighters. Vitamin D is actually able to enter cancer cells and trigger apoptosis (cell death).27 Vitamin D works synergistically with every cancer treatment I'm aware of, with no adverse effects.

Limit Protein Intake

Recent research has emphasized the importance of the mTOR pathway that, when activated, accelerates cancer growth.28,29

To quiet this pathway, used in protein metabolism,30 I believe it may be wise to limit your protein to 1 gram of protein per kilogram of lean body mass, or roughly a bit less than half a gram of protein per pound of lean body weight. That is roughly 40 to 70 grams per day for most people.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

This will come naturally when you begin eating a diet low in carbohydrates and high in healthy fats, as well as including a consistent exercise routine. It's important to lose excess body fat because fat produces estrogen and obesity is linked to higher rates of cancer.31

Exercise Regularly

One of the primary reasons exercise works to lower your cancer risk is because it drives your insulin levels down and regulates your leptin receptors — two powerful ways of preventing inflammation and cancer cell growth.

Apoptosis (programmed cell death) is triggered by exercise, causing cancer cells to die.32 Exercise may also help lower estrogen levels, which explains why it is particularly potent against estrogen receptor positive breast cancer.33 Exercise also increases the creation of more mitochondria, essential to fighting cancer.34,35

Improve Insulin and Leptin Receptor Sensitivity

The best and most efficient way to accomplish insulin and leptin receptor sensitivity is to avoid sugar and grains and restrict non-fiber carbs to under 100 grams per day, and include regular exercise, especially high-intensity interval training (HIIT).

Eliminate Unfermented Soy Products

Unfermented soy is high in plant estrogens, or phytoestrogens, also known as isoflavones. In some studies, soy appears to work in concert with human estrogen to increase breast cell proliferation, which increases the chances for mutations and cancerous cells.36

Balance Your Omega-3 and Omega-6 Ratio to 1-to-1

Include plenty of high-quality, animal-based omega-3 fats in your daily diet through eating high quality, non-toxic fish or through a high-quality krill oil supplement. The standard American diet tends to be high in omega-6 fats, which need to be balanced with omega-3 fats to reduce your potential risk of cancer.37

Include Curcumin

This is the active ingredient in turmeric and in high concentrations can be a very useful adjunct in the treatment of cancer. For example, it has demonstrated major therapeutic potential in preventing breast cancer metastasis.38 It's important to know that curcumin is generally not absorbed that well, so I've provided several absorption tips here.

Avoid Alcohol

Limit or eliminate alcohol as it is a known carcinogen.39

Avoid Electromagnetic Fields

Limit your exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF) in your bedroom by removing your cell phone and electric blankets, and moving your alarm clock to the far side of the room.

Avoid Synthetic Hormone Replacement Therapy

Especially if you have other risk factors for breast cancer, synthetic hormone replacement may increase your risk. Several different types of breast cancer are estrogen receptor positive. According to a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (JNCI), breast cancer rates for women dropped in tandem with decreased use of hormone replacement therapy.

If you experience excessive menopausal symptoms, you may consider bioidentical hormone replacement therapy instead, which uses hormones that are molecularly identical to the ones your body produces and do not wreak havoc on your system. This is a much safer alternative.

Avoid BPA, Phthalates and Other Xenoestrogens

These compounds have estrogen-like chemicals and have been linked to a higher breast cancer risk.40

Ensure You Are Not Iodine Deficient

There is compelling evidence linking iodine deficiency with certain forms of cancer. Dr. David Brownstein,41 author of the book "Iodine: Why You Need it, Why You Can't Live Without it," is a proponent of iodine for breast cancer.

It actually has potent anticancer properties and has been shown to cause cell death in breast and thyroid cancer cells. For more information, I recommend reading Brownstein's book.

I have been researching iodine for some time ever since I interviewed Brownstein as I do believe that the bulk of what he states is spot on. However, I am not convinced that his dosage recommendations are ideal. I believe they are five to six times higher than optimal.

Reduce Grilling Your Meat and Avoid Charring

Charcoal or flame broiled meat is linked with increased breast cancer risk. Acrylamide — a carcinogen created when starchy foods are baked, roasted or fried — has been found to increase cancer risk as well.





Related Articles:

  Sugar Identified as a Top Cause of the Surge in Cancer

  3 Reasons You Should Eat More Spicy Food

  How Chilies Can Be Used to Treat Pain

 Comments (26)

Recipe From Susan Luschas, Ph.D.

If you’re in a pinch, this delicious and healthy recipe, submitted by Susan Luschas, Ph.D., can be made quickly. What I love about this snack is that it combines one of the best fermented foods available, raw sauerkraut, with avocado. Avocados are a personal favorite of mine, and I eat one almost every day for their many health benefits. Meanwhile, sauerkraut (I recommend making your own) will provide you with beneficial bacteria.

Try this nutritious recipe the next time you need a quick snack. Even picky kids have been turned on to eating fermented foods, thanks to this simple and delightful treat.

Ingredients:

1 avocado

½ cup raw sauerkraut   

Procedure:

  1. Slice the avocado in half and take the pit out.
  2. Fill the pit holes with about ¼ cup of raw fermented sauerkraut each. The amount of sauerkraut you need depends on the size of your avocado.
  3. Spoon a bit of the sauerkraut juice over the exposed sides of the avocado to keep them from turning brown. This step is unnecessary if you’re going to eat it immediately.
  4. Add some Himalayan salt and black pepper to suit your taste.

This recipe makes one serving.

A Quick and Delicious Snack That Can Help Improve Your Health

Raw sauerkraut is affordable and it offers a lot of health benefits as well. For instance, it provides you with beneficial bacteria to help optimize your gut health. Here are other benefits of eating raw sauerkraut:

  • Offers anti-cancer properties. Raw sauerkraut contains high levels of glucosinolates, which may reduce DNA damage and cell mutation during carcinogenesis (the formation of cancer).[i]
  • Rich in vitamin C. One serving of raw sauerkraut will provide you with 35 percent of the average recommended intake of vitamin C, an antioxidant that helps with white blood cell production and promotes cellular repair and regeneration.
  • Helps maintain optimal eye health. Raw sauerkraut is rich in vitamin A to help reduce your risk for cataracts and macular degeneration.[ii]
  • Supports bone health. A single serving contains 23 percent of your recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin K, which helps release proteins that regulate bone mineralization.
  • Fights inflammation. This “superfood” offers anti-inflammatory properties thanks to its phytonutrient antioxidants, thus, it can help reduce joint and muscle pain.  

On top of these health benefits from raw sauerkraut, avocados also have a lot to offer. They are one of the healthiest fruits around due to their low fructose content, so they won’t cause a spike in your blood sugar levels. I recommend eating avocados regularly because they:

  • Are packed with nutrients. According to Authority Nutrition, avocados contain vitamins C, K, B9, B5, B6 and E, providing a significant amount of your RDA.[iii]
  • Help maintain normal cholesterol levels. Avocados are rich in beta-sitosterol, a beneficial plant-derived fat that decreases the amount of cholesterol absorbed by your body from food. They are rich in monounsaturated fats as well, which may raise your “good” cholesterol while lowering your “bad” cholesterol.[iv]
  • Assist in regulating blood pressure. Most people aren’t aware that avocados contain more potassium than bananas. Some studies have shown that potassium plays an important role in reducing blood pressure, a major risk factor for kidney failure, heart attacks and strokes.[v]
  • Improve digestion. They are rich in fiber that can help prevent constipation and maintain digestive tract health. Sufficient fiber intake promotes regular bowel movements, a crucial part of the body’s natural detoxification process.[vi]

About the Author:

Susan Luschas, Ph.D., is an MIT-trained scientist and engineer. She was forced to apply her critical thinking skills to debug her own family's health problems. She has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars and years of her life on doctors, experiments, and research. She didn't stop until her family achieved radiant health. Changing the family diet was the biggest step forward in the healing journey. More details can be found on her website Debug Your Health.






By Dr. Mercola

Micronutrients are incredibly important and vital to your health, but are you getting enough, and perhaps even more importantly, the right form? Mark Whitacre, Ph.D., is a leading expert on one of the most important micronutrients, selenium.

Selenium is a trace element a Swedish chemist, Baron Jöns Jacob Berzelius, discovered almost 200 years ago. Today, modern scientists recognize it as an essential mineral for human health, with potent anti-inflammatory, antiviral and anti-cancer activity.

There are fewer than 100 selenium Ph.D. biochemists in the world. Whitacre received his master's degree in nutrition at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, in the late 1970s — a time when selenium was quickly becoming a hot topic.

"After I finished my master's degree at Ohio State, I went to Cornell University to get my Ph.D. in nutritional biochemistry and to study under Gerald F. Combs Jr.[,Ph.D., who] was probably the leading authority in selenium research, and probably still is," Whitacre says.

During his Ph.D. research at Cornell in selenium biochemistry, Whitacre researched the biochemical role of selenium in pancreatic cells. At the time, researchers were just starting to discover the biological necessities for selenium.

Selenium in Health and Disease Prevention

Selenium serves two very important and interrelated roles:

  1. At the cellular level, selenium is an active component of glutathione peroxidase, an enzyme that converts hydrogen peroxide to water. Glutathione peroxidase has potent antioxidant properties, and serves as a first line of defense against build-up of harmful free radicals in your cells.
  2. Selenium also plays an important role in the prevention of cancer. One of the reasons people get cancer is because of excessive free radical production. By reducing free radicals, selenium helps reduce your risk of cancer.

Excessive Iron + Selenium Deficiency = Bad News

Excessive iron can throw a wrench in the works here. By causing a Fenton reaction in the inner mitochondria, iron then reacts with hydrogen peroxide to form hydroxyl free radicals — the most dangerous type of free radicals known.

These excess free radicals can damage mitochondrial DNA, proteins and cell membranes and lead to dysfunction and ultimately premature death of the mitochondria.

This is why I recommend getting your iron level tested once a year, and to maintain a level between 20 and 80 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL), and ideally between 40 and 60 ng/mL.

While anemia (low iron) can be a serious problem it is easily treated with iron supplementation. The vast majority of people actually have too much iron. The only people who typically do not are premenopausal women and children.

As a result of that excess iron, hydroxyl free radicals are catalyzed, and the situation is further worsened if you're selenium deficient. A great example of the danger of high iron is thalassemia, a genetic condition that causes intrinsically high levels of iron.

I inherited this from my dad, who also has it. He developed hemochromatosis, (iron overload), which led to bronze diabetes — a specific subset of type 1 diabetes that results when high iron oxidizes your pancreatic islet cells.

Check Your Iron Levels Annually

As noted by Whitacre:

"Excessive iron does create some challenges. Actually, my Ph.D. thesis, looking at the biochemical role of selenium in the pancreatic cell … [showed that] chicks with selenium deficiency get pancreatic fibrosis …

Basically, once [the chicks were] 21 to 28 days [old], when they were selenium deficient on a purified diet, they wouldn't survive at all … Most of that damage we saw early on — the earliest damage we can detect — was mitochondrial membrane [damage].

We could see the degeneration of that mitochondrial membrane … basically, the peroxide oxidizing and attacking those lipids … [The mitochondrial membrane] is really one of the areas that's impacted first … because of the generation of free radicals inside the mitochondria."

It's important to realize that while selenium deficiency can worsen the situation, selenium will not optimize glutathione peroxidase production to the point of actually protecting you against excessive iron. So, you really need to check your iron levels and donate blood (phlebotomy), should your levels be elevated.

The Selenium-Cancer Connection

Since the 1980s, most of the selenium research has been in the area of cancer prevention. The first study was conducted by Combs, Whitacre's thesis adviser at Cornell University.

The late Larry C. Clark, Ph.D., and former director of the Arizona Cancer Center's epidemiology program at the University of Arizona, was another Cornell researcher.

"In 1983, which was my last year at Cornell, [Combs and Clark] started a 10-year study looking at 200 micrograms (mcg) per day of selenium supplementation using high selenium yeast compared to no supplementation …

They found … there was a 50 to 63 percent reduction in cancer rates in colon, lung and prostate, with the highest number of 63 percent rate reduction in prostate cancer …  

That was probably the first study that really looked at the impact of selenium supplementation on cancer reduction. Since that point, there's been dozens of studies verifying that work," Whitacre says.

"That work really emphasized … the thought that the glutathione peroxidase reducing free radical production was the biological role. There is some newer work that looks like there may possibly be another function … beyond the antioxidant role of glutathione peroxidase …

Most of the works since [then] has really been looking more at selenium form. That study used SelenoExcell high-selenium yeast, and there's been several studies that have looked at sodium selenite [and] selenomethionine, and have not seen the same effect …  [F]orm does make a difference.

The SelenoExcell high-selenium yeast has been the most effective form. Matter of fact, selenomethionine had no effect in a very long term cancer research study published in 2011 called the SELECT trial …"

The Form of Selenium You Use Is Very Important

Interestingly, there does not appear to be a significant difference between selenium forms in regard to the amount of glutathione being produced. However, it makes a big difference when you're looking at cancer incidence. Selenomethionine is a single amino acid where the selenium has replaced the sulfur in methionine. SelenoExcell high selenium yeast is the full protein form, and a more natural food form.

The selenium yeast gives you not just selenomethionine but also methylselenocysteine and selenocysteine. Research suggests methylselenocysteine may be the most active form in reducing cancer, and that's the form found in high-selenium yeast. It's not found in selenate, selenite or selenomethionine.

"When you look at the selenium bounty yeast, it does match with the selenium that you see in tuna, for example, or that you see in natural plant forms. It does match more the natural food form, which is in the complete protein form. We don't know [whether] the protection of the protein makes it more effective, or [if it's] the form itself that's in the selenium yeast beyond selenomethionine.

The selenium in selenium yeast has been shown to be about 70 percent selenomethionine. But these other forms that are in the yeast form — and also in Brazil nuts — does have the methylselenocysteine and also selenocysteine that you don't have in these other selenium forms.

It's really thought at this stage that the mixture of these forms … like selenomethionine together with methylselenocysteine and selenocysteine, could possibly be the reason why it's more effective than selenomethionine by itself at … 200 mcg."

People With Higher Selenium Levels Have Lower Rates of Cancer

When it comes to food, Brazil nuts are an excellent source of selenium, and all you need is two to three per day to meet your daily requirement. Sadly, there have been no comparison studies done to assess the difference between Brazil nuts and selenium from bounty or extracted from yeast. That said:

"There have been studies showing that the lower the blood level of selenium — looking at individuals who consume foods that are higher in selenium compared to individuals who consume foods that are lower in selenium and therefore have very low selenium blood levels — [the] higher the rates of cancer. Those studies do exist," Whitacre says.

If you use a supplement, you'll typically find selenium combined with other antioxidants such as vitamin E. According to Whitacre, this is likely because they serve similar antioxidant functions, not because there's any type of beneficial interactions between them, such as enhancing the absorption. For example, the SELECT trial looked at both vitamin E and selenium on cancer incidence.

That particular trial looked at the alpha form of vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) and selenomethionine as the selenium source. Neither of these forms had an effect on cancer rates. This does not mean vitamin E and selenium are useless. It simply confirms that the devil's in the details, so to speak. When it comes to selenium, you really should strive to get it from your whole food in order to reap maximum benefit.

Best Food Sources of Selenium

As a general rule, eating a variety of whole, unprocessed foods will naturally optimize your selenium levels (along with other important nutrients). Good food sources of selenium include:

Brazil nuts (which average about 70 to 90 micrograms per nut)

Sardines

Wild-caught Alaskan salmon

Pastured organic eggs

Sunflower seeds

Pasture-raised organic chicken and turkey

Liver (lamb or beef)

Chia seeds

Mushrooms

In most parts of the U.S., selenium levels in soil tend to be relatively high (northern Nebraska and the Dakotas have soil that is especially high in selenium). However, in other areas such as China, Russia, Australia, New Zealand and Europe, soil levels of selenium tend to be much lower, and if you eat food primarily grown in these areas, a high-quality selenium supplement may be beneficial. Even parts of the U.S. have been identified as selenium-deficient regions, including:

  • The Pacific Northwest
  • Parts of the Great Lakes region and east of it toward New England
  • Parts of the Atlantic Coast

If you live in one of these areas and focus your diet on locally grown foods, you may be low in selenium. You may also have low levels of selenium if you smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, have had weight loss surgery or have Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis.

Dosage and Supplement Recommendations

Selenium is needed in very small, microgram amounts, which is a fraction of a milligram. More is not better here, as toxicity can become an issue. For cancer prevention, the recommended level is 200 mcg per day. Many studies have used as much as 400 mcg per day without ill effect. However, since most of the research supports the use of 200 mcg per day, and shows no significant benefits at higher amounts, I don't recommend exceeding 200 mcg per day.

If you like Brazil nuts, eating about two to three of them per day will typically be sufficient. If you opt for a supplement, make sure to get the correct form. What you're looking for is the high-selenium yeast form. SelenoExcell is the scientifically tested and most recommended version.

"There's been a lot of research looking at other high-selenium yeast forms. The National Cancer Institute [NCI] required high selenium yeast — before it could be used in clinical trials — to be standardized. They … found that some of the high selenium yeast forms in the marketplace were really just taking yeast and supplementing sodium selenite. They were adulterated.

In 1998, the [NCI] signed a clinical trial agreement … with Cypress … that any cancer prevention trial that was going to use high-selenium yeast had to use the standardized form, which is SelenoExcell high-selenium yeast …

The trials that you see since that first trial published in 1996 by Clark and Combs … all the work since then, supported by the NCI, has been the SelenoExcell high-selenium yeast form. Not only does form make a difference — even [among] the high-selenium yeast forms there are some differences. I really want to emphasize that," Whitacre says.

Selenium Is Important for Optimal Health and Cancer Prevention

The research is quite clear on this point: Making sure you're getting enough selenium in your diet on a regular basis will help you achieve biological health and reduce your risk of cancer. Considering the fact that heart disease and cancer are both at epidemic levels in the Western world, cutting your risk by eating a few Brazil nuts or taking a high-selenium yeast supplement like SelenoExcell seems like a no-brainer.

As noted by Whitacre, many of the trials show higher blood selenium levels as a result of high selenium yeast supplementation can cut your risk of prostate cancer by as much as 63 percent, and lung and colon cancer by approximately 50 percent. Avoiding toxins and optimizing your vitamin D level, iron level and diet (reducing your net carbs and avoiding processed foods) will provide additional protection.





Related Articles:

  Selenium - What Is it and Where Do I Get It?

  The Significance of Selenium

  Increasing Selenium Intake Decreases Bladder Cancer Risk

 Comments (84)

Next Page →