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Zinc May Prevent Esophageal, Oral Cancers

If you've followed my site for awhile, you know about the importance of zinc. Too much of it can lead to prostate cancer and anemia. And not enough has been associated with chronic liver and kidney disease. But, to the good, zinc can limit the duration of colds.

Cancer researchers have found zinc treatment may help prevent esophageal and oral cancers in high-risk patients. Oral and esophageal cancers are associated with nutritional zinc deficiency, along with a rise in the expression of the COX-2 enzyme is connected with these cancers. Although an estimated 10 percent of American eat a zinc-deficient diet, these findings are particularly important for developing countries where some 2 BILLION people lack the right amount of zinc.

Scientists compared COX-2 enzymes and gene expression in esophageal and tongue tissue in normal rats, zinc-deficient rats and in zinc-deficient rats that had received zinc. They found COX-2 expression was increased 10-15-fold in zinc-deficient rats. After giving zinc to the deficient rats, however, COX-2 enzymes were markedly reduced and the formation of precancerous cells was reversed.

Science Daily January 10, 2005

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