The university said it expected to have clear evidence by the end of the year on the role milk could play in strengthening the fight against cancer of the physical properties of the trace element , selenium.
In a trial of the man already underway, Graeme Young is testing the beneficial effects of selenium when delivered through cow's milk compared to other forms of supplements.
The role of cow's milk in preventing bowel cancer is expected to be revealed through new research at Flinders University in Adelaide.
Previous tests have confirmed that selenium in milk could lift levels of selenium in the blood.
Young said the teacher and the baking powder-based forms of selenium available on the counter as dietary supplements have varying degrees of absorption and impact on the body.
"So, these forms of selenium differ in their ability to change the antioxidant status of someone, and the ability to prevent cancer," he said.
"It happens that when you feed selenium to cows and they produce selenium-enriched milk, selenium appears to be in a chemical form that is both highly absorbable by the body and also more effective in terms of cancer prevention. "
In this study involving 20 people, researchers comparing the milk form of selenium with a yeast selenium and see how it is easily absorbed.
"We also take biopsies of the lining of the intestine to ensure that selenium is implemented in the cells lining the intestine," said Professor Young.
"If we can establish that happens, then we will be more confident that selenium is underway to regulate the cells lining the intestine in humans."
The anti-cancer properties of selenium are related to the way it encourages the body to get rid of mutant cells that might otherwise become cancerous.
Previous research by the team from Flinders Center for Cancer Prevention and Control - published in the June issue of the journal International Cancer Research - showed that selenium-enriched cow's milk produced a significant effect to prevent cancer in mice.
Prof Young said research has focused on prevention rather than treatment of cancer.
"With the approach we take for prevention, you probably need to strike a light and subtle effect of selenium to be a clear advantage," he says.
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