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Selenium's Anti-Cancer Mechanisms

Date:2016-05-16 17:27:16    Visit:495

Selenium's Anti-Cancer Mechanisms

Cells in your body undergo potentially cancerous transformations thousands of times each day。 No chemoprevention strategy is likely to change that; rather, your goal should be to enhance your body's own natural protective mechanisms for terminating cancer cells' survival as early as possible, thereby stopping their potential outgrowth into malignant tumors。

Selenium acts by multiple, complementary pathways to prevent cancers from developing.23,2,8 This phenomenon, known to scientists as pleiotropy, allows selenium to attack cancer on many different fronts, at many different stages.5,24 Pleiotropy is a vital characteristic in any cancer preventive strategy, because cancers all have multiple causes and mechanisms of their own, readily overcoming single-targeted therapies.

Detailed studies now reveal the following 12 distinct mechanisms by which selenium prevents potentially cancerous cells from attaining full-blown tumor status:2

  1. Regulation of lipoxygenases, enzymes that produce inflammatory molecules that promote cancer growth;

  2. Direct reduction of oxidative stress that causes free radical damage;

  3. Protection of the antioxidant-recycling seleno- proteins;

  4. Detoxification of cancer-inducing metals;

  5. Induction of protective "phase II" liver enzymes that neutralize organic carcinogenic toxins;

  6. Inhibition of DNA alterations58棋牌, precursors to initiation of cancerous changes;

  7. Inactivation of molecular transcription factors required by cancer cells to support their growth and development;

  8. Shutting down of the essential cell replication cycle needed by cancer cells to produce their explosive growth;

  9. Induction of apoptosis, the programmed cell death, a natural feature of all normal body cells that is missing in cancerous cells, allowing them to continue to reproduce indefinitely;

  10. Enhanced immune system activity 58棋牌to detect and destroy incipient cancer cells;

  11. Downregulation of sex hormone receptors used by certain cancers to sustain their growth;25

  12. Limiting effects on tumor invasion and metastasis.

These 12 mechanisms act together to maximize cancer protection, and new mechanisms are still being discovered.26,27 But unlike most nutrients, not every form of selenium produces all of the same beneficial effects.

Selenium-Methyl L-Selenocysteine

Selenium-Methyl L-Selenocysteine

Selenium-methyl L-selenocysteine is an organic complex of selenium with a sulfur-containing amino acid, in this case, L-cysteine. This compound is the most recent form of selenium to attract scientific interest. Found in plants in the allium family (garlic and onions) grown in selenium-enriched soil, it is one of the most potent forms of selenium known.57

Laboratory studies reveal several mechanisms of action unique to this form of selenium. Perhaps most intriguingly, selenium-methyl L-selenocysteine supplementsrestore proteins associated with normal circadian (24-hour) rhythms.58 Disruptions in circadian rhythms are associated with development of several cancer types, most notably breast cancers. Restoring those important regulatory proteins with selenium-methyl L-selenocysteine normalizes levels of melatonin and estrogen receptors related to the aggressiveness of breast cancers.25

Another action of selenium-methyl L-selenocysteine in tumors is its ability to inhibit new blood vessel formation, or angiogenesis.26,59,60 This effect dramatically reduces tumor growth and enhances the delivery of cancer chemotherapy drugs to tumors.61 Selenium-methyl L-selenocysteine has shown promising synergistic effects with various chemotherapy drugs, including those used in prostate and breast cancers.61-63

Selenium-methyl L-selenocysteine downregulates expression of a protein known as Bcl-2 that slows beneficial apoptosis of cancer cells.64 What this means is that this form of selenium rapidly induces appropriate destruction of cancer cells. Selenium-methyl L-selenocysteine shuts down the inflammatory response prompted by the master inflammation-inducing regulator called NF-kappaB.65

In combination with the breast cancer drug tamoxifen, selenium-methyl L-selenocysteine enhances that drug's ability to inhibit growth of breast cancers implanted into mice.60 Such studies have been sufficiently encouraging that selenium-methyl L-selenocysteine is now being specifically developed for breast cancer chemoprevention. Additionally, the compound is showing a favorable profile in preventing colon, prostate, and head and neck cancers.27,62,66-68

Summary

Selenium is a trace element now recognized to be essential in human nutrition. It has attracted increasing scientific interest over the past few years for its powerful cancer-preventing potential. Selenium occurs in multiple forms in nature, three of which are especially important in preventing human cancers. Each of these three forms of selenium has produced intriguing findings. Laboratory studies reveal the reason: each form of selenium has a unique suite of mechanisms, and each affects different cancer types somewhat differently. The human body handles each form of selenium in a different fashion, and each form contributes uniquely to preventing cancer from emerging. Only by combining all three forms of selenium can you be sure of optimizing your cancer risk reduction. In that way you'll be taking advantage of all of the 12 or more known mechanisms by which selenium compounds prevent cancer.

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