Selenium helps to prevent tissue damage caused by free radicals. Selenium is found in cereals, meat and fish. Cereals provide about 50% of dietary selenium. The selenium content of plant foods varies with the selenium content of the soil.
Cancer Council supports the National Health and Medical Research Council recommended dietary intake of 70μg/day for men and 60μg/day for women with an upper intake limit of 400μg/day (six times the recommended dietary intake). Selenium is safe if taken in moderation. However selenium supplements are toxic if taken in high doses.
Although some observational studies suggest that selenium may reduce the risk of prostate cancer, randomised controlled trials have not confirmed these findings.
Cancer Council does not support the use of health claims on food labels that suggest selenium protects against the development of cancer.
See the full position statement:
Selenium and cancer prevention