Zinc protects prostate cells by acting as a tumor suppressor
(NaturalHealth365) According to the Prostate Cancer Foundation, prostate cancer is currently the most common cancer in America (not accounting for skin cancers). Unfortunately, it is also the leading cause of cancer-related death in men in the U.S. In fact, 1 in every 7 men will be diagnosed with the disease at some point in their lives, with a new diagnosis every 2.4 minutes.
Instead of waiting to take action against prostate cancer after a diagnosis, new studies suggest that men have the power to take action against the disease before it starts by utilizing one key resource: zinc.
Zinc helps to keep cancer away
The benefits of zinc have long been recognized, as the mineral is revered for its role in immune function and cellular metabolism. Until now, it has been recommended that men aim to consume 11 mg of zinc per day, whether through food sources or supplements. However, new research suggests that a higher daily dosage of zinc may have the power to suppress prostate tumors, prevent cancer, and protect men against advanced prostate disease.
Important to remember: Zinc levels are lower in cancerous prostate tissue.
Zinc is found in higher concentrations within the prostate than in any other tissue within the body. In fact, there is approximately 10 to 15 times the amount of zinc in the prostate tissues than in the rest of the body.
What does science have to say about zinc?
Researchers have long suspected that zinc offers at least some protection against prostate cancer, and now science is backing them up. Studies suggest that high concentrations of zinc not only prevent cancer of the prostate, but can also cause apoptosis of damaged prostate cells that could otherwise turn cancerous.
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Researchers found that zinc actually alters the biological makeup of prostate cells, significantly reducing the chance of malignancy. Conversely, when researchers examine existing prostate cancer cells, they find that zinc levels are lower in malignant cells than in non-cancerous prostate cells.
How to use zinc for prostate cancer prevention
The benefits of zinc can be achieved by taking the mineral as a dietary supplement, or by consuming it through one of several food sources. Oysters are perhaps the highest food source for zinc, with 74 mg per serving. Beef and crab are next, followed by fortified cereals, baked beans, and yogurt.
It is important to note that taking too much zinc is not only non-beneficial, but it can also have a harmful effect on a person’s health and immune system. In fact, a 2002 study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found that consuming zinc in amounts of 150 mg per day or more actually increased a man’s risk of developing advanced prostate cancer.
Of course, levels of zinc that are too low also provide no protection against prostate cancer. Generally speaking, the ideal dosage of zinc for prostate cancer prevention is between 30-85 mg per day. But, naturally, if you’re dealing with a cancer diagnosis – seek the advice of a trusted, integrative medical professional.