Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Toward A Better Burger: "Where's The Selenium?"

Date:
February 15, 2001
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
Agricultural researchers report that beef raised on the Northern Plains contains unusually high levels of selenium, an important cancer fighter. But they say it's too early to know whether any significant benefit to humans will result.

Agricultural researchers report that beef raised on the Northern Plains contains unusually high levels of selenium, an important cancer fighter. But they say it's too early to know whether any significant benefit to humans will result.

Related Articles


Their finding is published in the February Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, a monthly peer-reviewed journal of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society.

A key objective of the study - conducted by U.S. Department of Agriculture researchers - was to determine whether a direct connection exists between concentrations of selenium in the soil and in beef. Specifically, the USDA scientists wanted to know whether beef from areas with soil high in selenium accumulates high concentrations of the mineral.

It does, they learned, and according to lead researcher John W. Finley, a chemist at USDA's Grand Forks Human Research Center in North Dakota, "In some areas the selenium concentrations were high enough to supply more than one day's selenium requirement in a modest 100 gram serving of beef (approximately the size of a hamburger patty)." In contrast, the average burger contains only about one-third of the daily selenium requirement, Finley said.

Researchers consider the finding important in light of a long-term cancer study completed in 1996. The study, reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association, involved the treatment of 1,312 skin cancer patients over 4.5 years plus a 6.4-year follow-up period. According to Finley, selenium had no effect on skin cancer, but the study "found that 200 micrograms per day of supplemental selenium reduced the incidence of all cancers by more than 50 percent and specifically reduced the incidence of lung, colo-rectal and prostate cancers."

On average, beef is the single largest source of selenium in the North American diet at about 20 percent of the total dietary requirement, Finley said. He added that concentrations vary widely from one geographical area to another.

But the researchers warned that confirmation of specific health benefits from selenium-rich beef will depend on further experimentation and require complete and accurate determination of the precise chemical forms of selenium in beef, since not every form of the mineral affects humans in the same way.

"If nutritional experiments that we are currently conducting show the selenium in beef to have similar biological properties to other forms of selenium, then beef produced in these (high selenium) areas could conceivably be marketed as a specialty product, thus enhancing value for consumers and profitability to producers," Finley said.

While red meat has been widely implicated as a risk factor for certain cancers, including cancer of the prostate and others, researchers believe these risks could be ameliorated somewhat by the substitution of high selenium beef for low selenium beef, Finley suggested.

Furthermore, the mineral may have other benefits. Finley noted studies indicating selenium is a mood-enhancer in which "people were more elated/less depressed, more composed/less anxious and more confident/less unsure."

"Selenium is also a powerful antioxidant," he said. "But perhaps the most important function of (selenium) is to be found in work showing it enhances the immune system. A non-virulent virus will mutate into a virulent form in a selenium-deficient host. And selenium is today being investigated as a potentially important component in combating the AIDS virus."

Funding for the above study was provided by the USDA and the North Dakota Beef Commission.

John W. Finley, Ph.D., is a research chemist at the Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center, in Grand Forks, N.D. He is also an adjunct professor in the animal and range sciences department at North Dakota State University in Fargo.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "Toward A Better Burger: "Where's The Selenium?"." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 February 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/02/010214075112.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2001, February 15). Toward A Better Burger: "Where's The Selenium?". ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 6, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/02/010214075112.htm
American Chemical Society. "Toward A Better Burger: "Where's The Selenium?"." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/02/010214075112.htm (accessed March 6, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, March 6, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Bupa Eyes India Healthcare Opportunities

Bupa Eyes India Healthcare Opportunities

Reuters - Business Video Online (Mar. 5, 2015) Bupa is hoping to expand in India&apos;s fast-growing health insurance market, once a rule change on foreign investment is implemented. The British private healthcare group&apos;s CEO tells Grace Pascoe why it&apos;s so keen on the new opportunity. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor in Your Pocket Is Getting Smarter

Doctor in Your Pocket Is Getting Smarter

Reuters - Business Video Online (Mar. 5, 2015) Mobile apps are turning smartphones into a personal doctors, with users able to measure heart rate, blood pressure and even blood sugar. But will it change our behaviour? Ivor Bennett reports from the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
AbbVie Inks $21B Deal To Buy Cancer Drugmaker Pharmacyclics

AbbVie Inks $21B Deal To Buy Cancer Drugmaker Pharmacyclics

Newsy (Mar. 5, 2015) AbbVie announced Wednesday it will buy cancer drugmaker Pharmacyclics in a $21 billion deal. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Toddlers Drinking Coffee? Why You Shouldn't Share Your Joe

Toddlers Drinking Coffee? Why You Shouldn't Share Your Joe

Newsy (Mar. 5, 2015) A survey of Boston mothers and toddlers found that 15 percent of two-year-olds drink coffee and 2.5 percent of 1-year-olds. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins