According to a study, the proliferation of cancer cells of the esophagus can be significantly inhibited with zinc supplementation. The study results could provide opportunities for improved treatment and prevention of esophageal cancer.
Other research has revealed that zinc helps in protecting the esophagus from cancer and is essential for overall health. It has however never been completely understood why zinc is able to prevent esophageal cancer. Researchers discovered in this study that the growth of cancer cells is selectively halted with zinc but leaves normal esophageal epithelial cells untouched.
Cancer of the esophagus is the 6th main cause of deaths from cancer globally. It’s estimated that there were approximately 16,000 deaths from esophageal cancer in 2016 in the US. The average 5-year rate of survival is less than 20%.
A lot of cancer patients have been discovered to be zinc deficient. Both animal studies and clinical data have revealed that zinc is important for the prevention of cancer and for overall physical health. Zinc is an important component in many enzymes and proteins, and its absence can make it impossible for proper cell function.
It was previously unknown why equivalent physiological zinc concentrations inhibit growth of cancer cells but not normal cells. This study reveals that overactive calcium signals are impeded by zinc in cancer cells, and while overactive calcium signals are not seen in normal cells, growth of cancer cells is selectively inhibited by zinc. It now seems that calcium and zinc can have a crosstalk, which means that they could be linked.
An insufficiency of zinc can result in the development of cancers as well as other diseases, and this is why it’s important to have a well balanced diet. Foods rich in zinc include flax seeds, spinach, pumpkin seeds, beef, and seafood such as oysters and shrimp.