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Zinc is a mineral found in large concentrations in the prostate gland, which suggests its importance in prostate health. Foods that contain a rich source of zinc include oysters, beef, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, crimini mushrooms, and low-fat yogurt. The RDA for zinc is 11 mg for adult males.
Zinc and BPH
At the University of Maryland (Baltimore), scientists showed that when they exposed BPH cells to zinc, the mineral induced cell suicide (apoptosis). (Lin 2009) Researchers at Oregon State University examined the antiproliferative effects of zinc in BPH cells and found that zinc may have an important role in regulating cell growth and cell suicide in BPH cells. (Yan 201
Zinc and prostatitis
In a study conducted in Venezuela, researchers compared the concentrations of zinc in the prostatic fluid of men who had prostatitis, prostate cancer, and BPH when compared with healthy controls. They found that zinc concentrations in men who had prostatitis or prostate cancer, but not BPH, were lower than those in the controls. This finding led them to recommend zinc supplements as treatment for prostatitis. (Gomez 2007)
Read more in our Prostatitis Health Center
Zinc and prostate cancer
Studies have indicated that zinc supplements can reduce the risk of developing advanced prostate cancer, and that men who have prostate cancer often have low concentrations of zinc. When researchers at the University of Maryland in Baltimore exposed human prostate cancer cells to zinc, the cells were prone to undergo apoptosis (cell suicide; Lin). In another study, investigators found evidence that zinc plays a part in regulating cell growth and cell suicide in prostate cancer cells.
Read more in our Prostate Cancer Health Center
Gomez Y et al. Zinc levels in prostatic fluid of patients with prostate pathologies. Invest Clin 2007 Sep; 48(3): 287-94
Lin SF et al. Profiling of zinc-altered gene expression in human prostate normal vs cancer cells: a time course study. Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry 2009 Dec; 20(12): 1000-12
Yan M et al. Differential response to zinc-induced apoptosis in benign prostate hyperplasia and prostate cancer cells. Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry 2010 Aug; 21(8): 687-94