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Zinc May Lower Risk of Death from Prostate Cancer

Research has shown that the prostate has the highest concentration of zinc of all the human organs and that cancer makes it difficult for cells to store zinc. This suggests that zinc levels in the prostate may be related to overall prostate health. A new study examining the Swedish population suggests that consuming zinc may lower the risk of dying from prostate cancer.

The researchers were based at the Harvard School of Public Health and the findings were published in the March 2011 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Participants in the study included 525 Swedish men with an average age of 71 and a prostate cancer diagnosis. The researchers followed the men for up to 20 years or until they died of prostate cancer or from another cause.

The participants completed food questionnaires to determine their zinc intake. At the end of the study the participants were divided into two groups: individuals who died from prostate cancer and those who died from another cause.

The researchers discovered that individuals who consumed the most zinc (more than 15.6 mg per day) were 36% less likely to die of prostate cancer than those who consumed the least zinc (less than 12.8 mg per day). Men in the earliest stages of the cancer at the time of diagnosis showed a 76% reduced risk in the highest intake group.

An essential mineral, zinc has been linked to maintaining a healthy immune system, healing wounds, helping with growth, supporting the reproductive system, better eye health, and mood improvement in women.

Zinc can be found in many foods, including oysters, beef, crab, fortified cereals, lobster, beans, yogurt, nuts, milk, chicken, cheese, and oatmeal. You can also consume zinc in a supplement form but be careful not to take too much. Intakes of greater than 150 mg per day have been associated with negative side effects, such as a weakened immune system.

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