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I’m reading Ray Strand‘s book, Bionutrition (first published in 1998, revised edition 2009). I’m finding it to be a compelling read, even though I can hear cynical voices piping up to deride nutritional supplementation as unnecessary. The skeptics say you can get all the nutrients you need through your diet.

But is that really true, given all the new research on how our bodies work at the cellular level and how free radicals and oxidization destroy healthy cells? A while ago I learned that Vancouver Island soil is very selenium-poor, which means that animals raised and produce grown here will be selenium-poor also. Selenium is a trace mineral that combines with proteins to form selenoproteins, which in turn are antioxidant enzymes. There’s a long list of literature on selenium and its (possible) role in preventing cancer; see this BC Cancer Agency page for an overview. Meanwhile, on the topic of cancer, this Canadian Cancer Society page, British Columbia and Yukon cancer statistics, has some distressing statistics (albeit with some overall good news for us in BC: it seems we’re doing better than the rest of Canada), even though phrases like “Since 1988, overall death rates …have declined slightly” are probably meant to ameliorate all the bad news (and there’s a lot of it).

And while the phrase “Increases in the number of new cancer cases are due mainly to a growing and aging population” might assuage fears about a growing threat of cancer, it also points to the very real and interesting problem around aging and quality of life. We’ve got a shot at growing quite old now, but who wants to be old and in really bad shape, whether it’s through rheumatoid arthritis, dementia, heart disease, diabetes, macular degeneration, or cancer?

That’s where the burgeoning interest in nutritional supplementation comes in.

I’m definitely interested – both in learning more about smart supplementing, and in staying as healthy as possible for as long as possible.

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