What is a selenium certification


Bochum, April 2014 - Vitamins and trace elements are essential for the human body, but an oversupply can be harmful to health and even increase the risk of cancer. The German Society for Endocrinology (DGE) advises on the occasion of a recently published study on selenium and vitamin E.

Vitamin E is a cell protection vitamin and plays a role in preventing deposits in the blood vessels. It is found in abundance in vegetable oils such as wheat germ or olive oil. Selenium is known to perform various important functions in the body. For example, it is involved in the metabolism of thyroid hormones. Much selenium is found in fish, seafood, milk and vegetables. Both substances were said to have a protective effect in relation to cancer. The "Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial" (SELECT) funded by the US National Cancer Institute investigated this assumption. It was the largest prostate cancer prevention study ever conducted. Professor Dr. med. Axel Heidenreich, Director of the Urological Clinic at the University Hospital Aachen explains: "It was canceled six years ago when an interim evaluation showed that vitamin E does not protect against cancer, but actually increases the risk of cancer."

Another evaluation recently showed that selenium also increases the risk of cancer. There was an increase in "high-grade" prostate cancers. "This aggressive variant of cancer can lead to metastases and death after just a few years," explains Prof. Dr. med. Dr. h.c. Herbert Rübben, Director of the Urology Clinic at Essen University Hospital. Only men who were adequately supplied with the trace element at the beginning of the study were affected, as shown by the determination of the selenium concentration in toenail samples. "This means that the trace element selenium, which the body needs in small quantities, is harmful in higher doses," summarizes Professor Rübben. "Vitamins and trace elements can be viewed in the same way as drugs, which can only be of use in the right dose, but can also become poison in too large a quantity."

As with other drugs, there may be surprising interactions between two substances. In the new evaluation of the SELECT study, for example, it emerged that vitamin E capsules only increase the risk of cancer in men if they were selenium deficient. "An adequate supply of selenium seems to protect against the harmful effects of vitamin E," adds Professor Heidenreich. However, according to the results of the SELECT study, if there is an oversupply, it has the opposite effect.

The consumers who reach for multivitamins and trace elements on the supermarket shelf are hardly aware of these relationships. There are no package inserts that point out risks and side effects, as is the case with medicinal products. "Based on the results, we advise all men not to take preparations with selenium or vitamin E as long as there is no evidence of a deficiency," says Professor Dr. med. Dr. H. c. Helmut Schatz, media spokesman for the German Society for Endocrinology (DGE) from Bochum, adds: "A balanced diet provides the body with sufficient vitamin E and selenium. Anyone who feels that they are undersupplied should take theirs before using supplements Doctor discuss whether he really needs it or not. "



A. R. Kristal et al .: Baseline Selenium Status and Effects of Selenium and Vitamin E Supplementation on Prostate Cancer Risk.
Journal of the National Cancer Institute 2014; doi: 10.1093 / jnci / djt456.

V.A. Moyer et al. Vitamin, Mineral, and Multivitamin Supplements for the Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease and Cancer: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation Statement.
Annals of Internal Medicine 2014; doi: 10.7326 / M14-0198.


Endocrinology is the study of hormones, metabolism and diseases in this field. Endocrine glands, such as the thyroid or pituitary gland, but also certain cells in the testes and ovaries, release endocrine disrupting hormones, that is to say they are released "inward" into the blood. In contrast to this, "exocrine" glands, such as salivary or sweat glands, release their secretions "to the outside".