In Part 3 of this series, I interviewed “NotADoc” Chris Barr on the benefits of Selenium, especially on how effective it is against preventing cancer and showing up to a 50% chance of reducing recurrence! He also tells us why we don’t have enough of it in the foods that we eat today and gives his opinion on which brand is the best to take and how much it to take. So let’s take a look!
Who is NotADoc (Chris Barr)?
NotADoc is a nutritional historian who has been investigating and applying research in nutrition through five decades. He has been involved with GTF Chromium, Selenium, and Silicon research throughout this period of time. NotADoc is the author of two books, NEWtrition & YOU about Chromium “Sparkling health for your life and living!” & Newtrition & YOU about Selenium “One Cancer Answer 100 years and counting”
All 3 of the supplements that we will be discussing as well as other ones recommended by Chris Barr are available in my store under https://choosetobehealthy.com/pa_brand/chris-barr
The History of Selenium
Today we’re going to be talking about Selenium. It was actually first published in medical literature in 1912 in a German Medical Journal as a treatment that had successful results treating cancer. There were many studies published after that showed success with breast cancer in 1915, 1920’s, 1930’s. It’s a long story short, it kind of got swept aside until 1957 when Dr. Klaus Schwarz at the National Institute of Health did some liver studies and discovered that the liver would not function without Selenium. We have since learned that it is a very liver-specific nutrient and so much more beyond that.
That kind of kick-started a renaissance of Selenium research and much of it revolved around cancer. Some it around arthritis and other diseases like thyroid issues, but mostly around cancer. We actually learned that iodine is virtually worthless in the absence of Selenium because there’s a conversion that necessary of the iodine hormone that doesn’t happen without Selenium.
There was a cancer renaissance especially and researchers around the world separate from one another discovered that they higher the Selenium level in the body the lower the chance of cancer in the body. They looked at the industrialized nations of the world: Japan, America, Canada, European Nations, and they found what was called an inverse proportional relationship that was exact. The highest Selenium nation had the lowest cancer rate, the second highest had the second lowest cancer rate and it went right down the list to the lowest Selenium having the highest cancer rate.
A long story short, we know the levels at which cancer begins to appear and America is down at that low end. Japan has the highest levels and for decades every time they do a health survey they find they have the lowest cancer incidents, they have the greatest longevity. There’s a lot of Selenium in their soil and they eat a lot of seafoods that are rich in it too. I learned back in the late 70’s to early 80’s that their average consumption was 350+ micrograms a day. In America, it’s around 200 or less per day and it’s much less now than it was then.
Why We Don’t Get Enough In Our Diet Today
Part of the reason for this is how many refined grains we eat. When they refine whole grains into white flour, 92% of Selenium is removed. But also, our soils in America are varied. 1/3 have high concentrations, 1/3 are moderate and 1/3 are low. So it can depend a lot on where the food that you’re eating is grown. Then on top of that, modern farming practices and sulfur amendments prevent the uptake of the plant of Selenium. If they are using sulfur amendments, which has become more common in the last 50 years, then there will be less taken up by the plant even if it’s in the soil.
Selenium is an antioxidant. Dr. Denham Harman first proposed the theory of antioxidants and aging back in the early 50’s and almost nobody paid attention at all for 10 years. Now it’s pretty well known and understand. The FDA even had to be sued 7 times and loose 7 times before the courts allowed them to put verbiage on the labels along the lines of “may prevent cancer, but the FDA doesn’t agree with this statement.”
It’s very well established and I have seen this, and yet people are concerned about toxicity. It’s a long story we don’t have time to get into. But if you look into toxicity, the government has a website, it notes toxicity as “mild gastrointestinal upset”, “garlicky breath”, and hair falling out. Now, I don’t know about you, but I don’t anyone that’s been to the emergency room because they’ve taken enough to cause those symptoms. We have a built in warning system that tells us before we reach that stage.
People don’t know that oxygen is toxic if you get too much of it. We have to have it to breathe, but it can also burn your lungs up if you get too much. Babies used to get blindness when they were born prematurely because they didn’t regulate the oxygen properly. And Selenium is less toxic than oxygen is.
What is the Best Supplement to Take?
Again, the form of Selenium you take matters. We talked about that more in previous interviews. The form found in food is more active, so you might think that it’s more dangerous, but it isn’t. The toxicity factor comes in the inability of the body to utilize the substance. So the non-food forms are actually more easily toxic, and even that’s exaggerated. So we need Selenium to protect the heart, for the thyroid gland to operate, prevent free radicals that cause aging, heart disease, and cancer.
We know the food forms are better and we know the amounts. There was a study in 1996 published by Jamma that showed that just 200 micrograms daily over a study period of more than 10 years that showed the greatest prevention of cancer reoccurrence in those that had previously had cancer of any substance ever examined. It worked better than everything else tested, including vitamins, drugs, medical procedures, amino acid, or herb. Nothing else has come close to Selenium’s rate of greater than 50% reduction in reoccurrence. And that’s with the minimum recommended amount of 200 micrograms.
I recommend Innate Response because that’s a form that has been documented by an independent researcher to be twice as available to the body as the second best on the market and more than a hundred times more available to the rest on the market. You can find it here: https://choosetobehealthy.com/product/selenium-90-tablet-btl-chris-barr-recomends/
How Much Should I Take?
In 1977, Dr. Gerhard Schrauzer said that 400 micrograms is an optimum amount. He said that if every woman in American took 200 micrograms of Selenium every day, breast cancer rates would dramatically decrease in the space of a few short years. They usually use synthetic forms in these studies, but in this study they used whole food varieties. And they found what past studies had found, a greater than 50% reduction in cancer incidence.
To learn more about the benefits of Selenium, you can check out Chris’ book, Newtrition & You: About Selenium, One Cancer Answer, 100 Years and Counting,.