Selenium is an essential mineral that comes in many chemical forms. Although selenium-rich diets appear capable of protecting people against several cancers, a new federal study has found that selenium eaten as a pure compound may not protect as well as selenium consumed as a part of food.
John W. Finley of the Agricultural Department's Grand Forks (N.D.) Human Nutrition Research Center enriched the diets of rats with selenium for 12 weeks. Some got selenomethionine, either in pure form or as a constituent of wheat. Others got methylated selenocysteine, in pure form or as a natural ingredient in high-selenium broccoli.
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