Proudly New Zealand Owned

The lacking New Zealand mineral

By David Coory

Cancer continues to raise its ugly head everywhere nowadays in New Zealand, but can we do something about it?

In every group of people worldwide, notable for living long, healthy lives largely free of cancer, blood levels of selenium are high. One Finnish study of 12,155 people with a high selenium intake found cancer incidence to be 600% lower.

Another 10-year study of 1312 (mostly men) by the California Cancer Centre, found when blood levels of selenium were increased by an average of 67%, the following reductions in cancer were found – colon cancer 58%, lung cancer 46% and prostate cancer 63%. Non-melanoma skin cancers were not however reduced to the same extent as other cancers.

An 8 year Swedish study of 10,000 men in their mid 40’s by Malmö Hospital in Sweden concluded: “Risk for cancer death was 3.8 times (380%) higher in the lowest quintile (ie. portion of the men with lowest selenium intake) compared with the highest.” ‘Cancer’ 37(3):1384

We have a serious and widespread selenium deficiency in New Zealand, especially among older men (64% deficient) and older women (78%). The World Cancer Research Fund reports our New Zealand women as having the world’s second highest rate of cancer – after Denmark, which like New Zealand also has selenium-poor soils.

The New Zealand RDI (Recommended Daily Intake) of selenium for men is 70 mcg and for women 60 mcg, but most nutrition researchers recommend a much higher RDI of about 175 mcg.

If you decide to have your blood level of selenium tested, the typical New Zealand range is 0.5 to 1.4 µmol/L. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition recommends a minimum of 1.3 µmol/L for full immune system effectiveness – this normally means a minimum daily intake of 150 mcg of organic selenium each day.