Credit: © Javier Somoza / Fotolia

Credit: © Javier Somoza / Fotolia

Zinc can stop the growth of cancer cells, new study says

Zinc can stop the growth of cancer cells, according the latest research conducted by the University of Texas at Arlington.

A little bit of zinc goes a long way.

Zinc deficiency has been shown to cause a diverse range of conditions such as fatigue, poor sexual health, premature aging, low immunity, macular degeneration and so much more.

The new study shows that zinc supplements can significantly inhibit the growth and spreading of esophagus cancer cells.

Previous studies have shown health benefits of zinc, and its protective properties for the esophagus from cancer. However, the mechanisms behind these benefits have never been quite understood.

According to the American Cancer Society, about 16,940 new esophageal cancer cases will be diagnosed this year — 15,690 of these cases resulting in deaths. Esophageal cancer is the sixth leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide.

Zui Pan, an associate professor of nursing at UTA’s College of Nursing and Health Innovation and lead author of the study believes that the study could change the way esophageal cancer is treated.

Zinc deficiency has been found in many cancer patients,” said Pan, whose study was funded in part by a research grant from the National Institutes of Health — National Cancer Insitute. “Both clinical data and animal studies have shown that this mineral is very important for overall body health and for cancer prevention.”

Zinc is a key nutrient in many proteins and enzymes, and it is essential for the functioning of cells.

But previously we didn’t know why the same physiological concentrations of zinc inhibit cancer cell growth but not normal cells. Our study, for the first time to our knowledge, reveals that zinc impedes overactive calcium signals in cancer cells, which is absent in normal cells, and thus zinc selectively inhibits cancer cell growth.” said Pan. “It now appears that zinc and calcium can have a cross talk, meaning that they can be linked.”

If you want to get more zinc in your diet, the following foods are a great place to start:

• Raw Oysters (they are the highest natural source of zinc, 10x higher than the next source, which is red meat)
• Crab
• Lamb and red meat
• Raw dark chocolate
• Peanuts
• Wheat germ
• Pumpkin seeds
• Squash seeds

The study showing that zinc can stop the growth of cancer cells was published in The FASEB Journal. 

Note: None of the information in our website is intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. The content on our website is for educational purposes only. 

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1. “UTA Study Says Zinc Can Halt the Growth of Cancer Cells .” University of Texas at Arlington, University of Texas at Arlington, 27 Sept. 2017,

2. “Selective Inhibitory Effects of Zinc on Cell Proliferation in Esophageal Squamous Cell Carcinoma through Orai1.” The FASEB Journal, Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, 19 Sept. 2017,
3. “Key Statistics for Esophageal Cancer.” American Cancer Society, American Cancer Society,
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