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Zinc is vital for the metabolism of Vitamin A and has important roles in many of the body's systems, including its immune functions, maintaining the integrity of sense organs, reproduction, mental function and wound healing. People with cancer may have an increased need for zinc, and anorexics may not receive adequate dietary sources of zinc. Zinc supplementation may reduce copper absorption, while various foods interfere with zinc absorption, including soya, cow's milk, iron supplements, wholewheat bread and bran. A dosage of 15-30 mg elemental zinc is totally safe for people with cancer. Zinc should be taken separately from other supplements and not with food.2

Prevention and Treatment of Cancer: Zinc
Despite the fact that zinc in certain circumstances can be a tumour promoter, the following studies indicate that zinc may play an important role in prevention, treatment and adjuvant (in combination with chemo- or radiotherapy) cancer treatment, and that zinc deficiency may be contributory factor to cancer development.
* Brooks, in an editorial states that whereas many physicians have overlooked the value of adding zinc chloride tissue fixation prior to micrographic surgery, due to a lack of randomized clinical trials, that nevertheless, historic control data indicate a survival benefit in the treatment of cutaneous melanoma. Three possible mechanisms are:
1) prevention of release of viable cells into circulation during surgery,
2) avoidance of disruption of clinically invisible satellite deposits, and
3) stimulation of a local inflammatory reaction and possible immune response.9
* Doz and colleagues, University of California, San Francisco investigated zinc's ability to decrease the toxicity of carboplatin (a cytotoxic drug) without impairing its activity against brain tumors. The high-zinc diet enabled a 50% increase in the carboplatin dose without increasing toxicity but did not alter the efficacy of carboplatin against this brain tumor.10
* Mei and colleagues, Anhui Medical University, Hefei, China, studied the influence of zinc and selenium-zinc upon the immune function (T-cells, granulocytes and NK cells) of cancer patients. The results showed that immune response was strengthened, suggesting that zinc or selenium-zinc may be instrumental in restoring failing immunocompetence of cancer patient.11
* Waalkes and colleagues, National Cancer Institute, Maryland assessed the effect of dietary zinc deficiency on the carcinogenic potential of cadmium in rats. Zinc-deficient diets markedly increased the number of tumours generated by cadmium exposure while significantly reducing the number of preneoplastic lesions. Zinc deficiency appears to cause a generalized increase in the chronic toxic effects of cadmium.12
* Lekili and colleagues, University of Hacettepe, Ankara, Turkey, determined that there were significant differences in serum zinc levels in prostatic cancer patients compared with patients with benign prostatic conditions. Distinct differences were found in zinc plasma content prostate cancer patients before and after therapy. Therefore, zinc concentration in serum may be a valuable index for the differential diagnosis and therapy of prostatic carcinoma.13
* Floersheim and Bieri, Kantonsspital, Basel, Switzerland determined that the organic zinc salts aspartate, histidine, orotate and acetate reduced the fall of the haematocrit, thrombocytes, erythrocytes and leucocytes in irradiated mice, zinc aspartate being the most effective. The synergism of zinc aspartate with radioprotector WR 2721 may make it possible in clinical cancer radiotherapy to obtain selective radioprotection at a lower toxicity and to inhibit lymphoid tumours.14,15

The above studies illustrate that zinc may play a role in:

* survival in the treatment of cutaneous melanoma;

* the diagnosis of prostate cancer;

* protection against the carcinogenic effects of toxic metals such as cadmium;

* restoring immune function in cancer patients;

* adjuvant radiotherapy and chemotherapy for lympoid and brain tumours.


Optizinc Zinc Monomthn 30mg 60T SN0847 $NZ11.37

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