Zinc is a mineral found in large concentrations in the prostate gland, which suggests its importance in prostate health. Experts also believe that a deficiency of zinc may lead to an increase in infections and prostatitis and possibly make men more susceptible to prostate cancer because the mineral has a key role in the body’s DNA-damage repair process.
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 with those of 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)
In an Oregon State University study, researchers studied the antiproliferative effects of zinc in both prostate cancer cells and BPH cells. The experiments showed that both types of cells reacted to the addition of zinc, and that BPH cells were more sensitive than were prostate cancer cells to zinc’s antiproliferative effects. (Yan 2010) Food sources of zinc include oysters, beef, seafood, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, crimini mushrooms, and low-fat yogurt. The preferred form of zinc as a supplement is zinc citrate, which is more bioavailable.
Gomez Y et al. Zinc levels in prostatic fluid of patients with prostate pathologies. Invest Clin 2007 Sep; 48(3): 287-94
Yan M et al. Differential response to zinc-induced apoptosis in benign prostate hyperplasia and prostate cancer cells. J Nutr Biochem 2010 Aug; 21(8): 687-94